Botswana

(Map) BotswanaBOTSWANA (EN: Botswana; RU: Ботсвана), the Republic of Botswana (EN: Republic of Botswana; RU: Республика Ботсвана), is the country at the south of the Africa continent. It is the member of the Commonwealth (British). It borders the Republic of South Africa to the south, Namibia and Zambia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the east. The area is 600.4 thousand square kilometres. The population is 936.6 thousand persons (1981). The capital city is Gaborone. The territory of Botswana is divided into 13 districts. The official languages are English and Setswana. The monetary unit is pula.

General characteristic of the economy. The GDP of the country is approximately 718 million pula (1980). The structure of the GDP (%, 1979) is: agriculture is 11.9, mining-extracting industry is 32.4, processing industry is 4.5, electrical energy industry is 2.1, construction is 4.2, commerce and service is 8.6, transport and communications is 2.0, others are 34.3.

Within the structure of the fuel-energetic balance, more than 90% is accounted for coal. The production of electricity is 460 million kilowatt-hours (1979). There passes through Botswana the railway from the Republic of South Africa into Zimbabwe, the length of this railway within Botswana is 317 kilometres. The total length of the roads for automotive and animal-powered transport is approximately 8 thousand kilometres.

Nature. Botswana occupies the territory of the extensive non-draining Kalahari depression, and of the plateaus, which are surrounding this depression. The relief is flat, and at the east, is slightly hilly with individual island mountains. The average altitude is 800-1000 metres (up to 1200 metres at the west). The climate is subtropical (tropical at the north). The average temperature of January is 21-27 degrees Celsius, of July is approximately 16 degrees Celsius. The atmospheric precipitation is approximately 500-600 millimetres per year, and less than 250 millimetres at the south. Within the central part of Botswana, there is distributed the deserted savanna; at the south-west, there is desert; at the east, there is savanna; and at the north, there are swamps and salty lakes.

Geological structure. The territory of Botswana embraces the fragments of the Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) and Kaapvaal Archaean cratons, Limpopo belt of the same age at the east, which is dividing them, the Damaran Upper Proterozoic folded belt at the north-west, and the significant part of the Kalahari syneclise, which is occupying the central part of the country. The Rhodesian craton is characterized by the extensive development of granite-gneisses and granites, which are including the narrow greenstone belts (Tati, Matsitama, Vukwe). With the greenstone belts (which are formed by metavolcanites and metasedimentary rocks), there are associated the deposits and manifestations of the ores of copper, gold, silver, nickel, iron, antimony, kyanite, lithium, fluorspar, asbestos, tungsten, lead. The basement of the Kaapvaal craton is formed by granite-gneisses and granites, which are including the zones of the ultrabasic and basic volcanic rocks.

Within the limits of the craton, there may be found the manifestations of gold, silver, polymetals, and radioactive minerals. The Limpopo belt is represented by granite-gneisses, gneisses, granulites, granites, and ultramafic rocks. There are extensively developed the processes of granitisation. There are confined to the ultrabasic rocks the copper-nickel deposits. The Damaran folded belt is formed by volcanites and carbonate-terrigenous depositions, with which there is associated the stratiform copper mineralization. The cratonic cover of the Kaapvaal craton and Limpopo belt is represented by the slightly changed depositions (volcanites, acidic terrigenous and carbonate-terrigenous depositions) of the Proterozoic, with which there associate the deposits of the ores of iron, manganese, asbestos, talc. The Kalahari syneclise, the deep structure of which is discussional, is filled by the depositions of the Upper Carboniferous - Lower Jurassic (the Karoo system) and, probably, of the Cretacious up to the modern ones (the Kalahari system). The Karoo system is formed by the terrigenous continental depositions, which are overlain by the thick stratum of basalts, which have been breached by the diamond-bearing kimberlites of the Cretaceous age. There are confined to this system the deposits of coal, gypsum, fire clays, kaolin, and the manifestations of uranium.

Hydrogeology. There are no large artesian basins within the country. In the hydrogeological sense, there are distinguished on the territory of Botswana several aquifers. Within the Karoo depositions, there are known two pressurized water horizons. The first horizon is within the Permian sandstones at the depth of 55-140 metres; the yield of the drilled wells at the north-east of Botswana reaches 11250 litres per hour; the mineralization of the water increases from the east to the west, from 380 to 4000 milligrams per litre. The second pressurized water horizon is within the sandstones of the Upper Triassic at the depth of 120-180 metres, the yield is 4000-9000 litres per hour. The reserves of the ground waters within Botswana are non-significant, and are distributed unevenly. At the south, within the Tsvapong region, the yield reaches 11000 litres per hour. At the north-east of the country (the Ghanzi ridge), there are water-bearing the quartzites and schists of the Upper Proterozoic, which are overlain by the sands of the Kalahari desert with the thickness of 13-15 metres. The water is of the good quality, but with the increase of the distance into the depth of the Kalahari depression, the water becomes more mineralized.

Table # 1 - The reserves of the major useful minerals (1980)
Useful mineral Reserves The content of the useful component
total proven and probable
Mineral coal, billion tonnes 60 0.7 -
Iron ores, million tonnes - 25 >60%
Manganese ores, million tonnes 1 - 30-60%
Cobalt ores (1), thousand tonnes 26 20 0.5-2.5%
Copper ores (1), thousand tonnes - 700 1.1-2.0%
Nickel ores (1), thousand tonnes - 600 0.7-1.5%
Gold ores (1), tonnes 7-10 - 3014 g/t
Diamonds, million carats 270 (2) 100 0.7 kar/t
Gypsum, million tonnes 2-3.5 - -
Talc, thousand tonnes - 37.6 -
Fire clays, million tonnes - 65 -
Soda, million tonnes 400 - -
Rock salt, million tonnes 1600 - 137.7 g/l
(1) In terms of metal, (2) Estimate

Useful minerals. The most important useful minerals are diamonds, coal, copper and nickel ores, there are available also the deposits of the ores of iron, manganese, asbestos, gypsum, talc, clays, salt, and soda (the Table # 1). According to the reserves of coal, Botswana holds the 2nd place within Africa. The deposits are situated at the east, within the most developed regions near the railways, namely, the Marapule, Mamabule, Foley (Mukane) basins. There are coal-bearing the Permian depositions of the Karoo system (the Eck stratigraphic suite). The productive horizons with the thickness of up to 30 metres are embedded at the depth of up to 150 metres. The coals are of the energetic type, the average ash content is 20%, the content of sulfur is 2%, the calorific value is 22-26 megajoules per kilogram. The largest deposits are Marapule (the total reserves are 1-1.5 billion tonnes) and Mamabule. The significant reserves of coal have been discovered within the Kveneng, Shoshong, Foley, and Vukve regions.

The uranium mineralization has been discovered near the Serule city within the Kalahari caliches (1.2 million tonnes of uranium ochres with 0.07% of U3O8), within the Kanye felsites (0.02-1% of U3O8), within the Karoo depositions at the east.

The deposits of the iron ores on the territory of Botswana have been studied slightly. There are known the deposits: Matsiloje, which is represented by the ferruginous quartzites within the Tati greenstone belt; Bikukunuru and Mahibitsvane, which are situated at the east, within the Serowe region, within the dolomites and limestones of the Shoshong series (Middle Proterozoic) at the contact with diabases.

The deposits of the manganese ores are concentrated at the south-east near the Kanye and Gaborone cities. The largest Kgvakve deposit is confined to the horizon of the argillaceous shales (with the thickness of 1-2.5 metres) of the Lower Proterozoic. There are extensively developed the crusts of weathering. There are analogous the Otse, Ramatsva, and Lobatse deposits. Their reserves have not been identified. The deposits were being developed during the 1960-ies. There is very promising the Palapye region, where the Tsvapong and Chadibe deposits are associated with the horizon of the manganese- ferruginous sandstone (of the Proterozoic), with the thickness of 1-2 metres, which is traced for 45 kilometres. The reserves were not studied.

According to the reserves of the copper ores, Botswana holds the 5th place within Africa. The deposits are situated at the north-west and north-east of the country. At the north-west, within the Damaran belt, the copper mineralization has been traced on the territory of Ngvako, and is confined to the horizon of the calcareous argillites of the Upper Proterozoic Ghanzi formation, with the thickness of 1-20 metres, and with the length of up to 300 metres. At the north-east, the deposits within the Matsitama region (the reserves are 160 thousand tonnes of copper, the content of Cu is 2%) are localized within the south-western part of the greenstone belt of the same name, within the quartzites, siliceous limestones, biotite schists. To the north, within the same belt, there is situated the Bushman group of deposits (40 thousand tonnes, the content of Cu is 2%). The copper-nickel deposits are located at the the north-east. The Phikwe-Selebi deposit is confined to the central Limpopo zone, the Phikwe and Selebi ore bodies are localized within the ultrabasite complex, which is embedded conformably with the enclosing gneisses and amphibolites. The mineralization may be traced to the depth of 780 metres. Within the Selkirk region, to the east of Francistown city, there are known several copper-nickel deposits; there is the most large the Selkirk deposit: 112 thousand tonnes of nickel (the content of Ni is 1.5%), 75 thousand tonnes of copper (the content of Cu is 1%); and there are known several manifestations, which are confined to the ultrabasic intrusions within the metavolcanites of the Tati greenschist belt. There is very promising for the discovery of the copper-nickel deposits the Limpopo belt (the Magogafate, Baines Drift, Northern Selebi, and other regions).

The numerous small deposits of the ores of gold are situated within the Tati belt (the extraction is not profitable). Within the Magogafate region, there is known the gold-copper mineralization.

According to the reserves of diamonds, Botswana holds the 3rd place among the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries (more than 8%, 1978). The major diamond-bearing regions are Orapa (the Orapa and Letlhakana deposits) and Jwaneng. The Orapa deposit is represented by the second pipe within the world according to size (1560x950 metres), the explored reserves exceed 85 million carats (of them 10-15% of the diamonds are of the jewellery grade), the average content is 0.66 carats per tonne. Within the loose surface depositions, the proven reserves amount to 6 million carats; the forecasted reserves are 25 million carats. In total, there are within the region approximately 30 kimberlite pipes. There is represented by the two small pipes the Letlhakana deposit. The reserves of the first pipe to the depth of 37 metres amount to 2 million carats, the content of the diamonds is up to 0.3 carats per tonne, with up to 40% of the jewellery grade varieties. The reserves within the gravel depositions are 1 million carats. At the Jwaneng deposit, there are 4 pipes, which are overlain by the gravel depositions with the thickness of 30-50 metres. The reserves of the deposit are estimated at 150 million carats (20-30% of the diamonds are of the jewellery grade). There is promising for the discovery of the new deposits of diamonds the region at the south-west of the country, where have been discovered kimberlite pipes. The intensive searches for kimberlites are conducted within the Orapa and Jwaneng regions.

The deposits of asbestos are situated at the south-east of the country, to the west of the Kanye city. The chrysotile asbestos localizes itself within the zone of contact of serpentinized dolomites of the Lower Proterozoic with dolerites. At the Moshaneng deposit, the zone with chrysotile asbestos is traced for 4.5 kilometres; at the Kakea-Pen deposit, the zone is traced for 50 kilometres, with the width of up to 3-4 kilometres. The asbestos is of the short-fiber type. The deposits of gypsum (Topsy and Lebung, the total reserves of each deposit are 1.5 million tonnes) are confined to the Karoo Triassic depositions within the Foley region (at the east of the country). At the north-east, within the Sua depression, there has been discovered the salt basin (the area is 900 square kilometres). The Sua-Pen-2 part of this basin is represented by the 30 metres thick stratum of the brines, which are embedded at the depth of 30 metres. Within Botswana, there are known the deposits of kyanite, fluorite, fire clays, kaolin, marble, other building materials, and the manifestations of the semi-precious stones.

Mining industry. General characteristic. Before the 1970-ies, the mining industry has not played the noticeable role within the economy of Botswana. By the 1980, the share of the produce of the industry within the GDP has grown (from 1% during the 1971-72 to 32% during the 1979-80). During the 1980, the export of the mineral raw materials provided more than 80% of the entire export from the country, and the incomes from the mining industry amounted to 1/3 part of the governmental revenues. Within the mining industry, there are employed 5.6 thousand persons (1978), or 9% of the economically active population. Within the structure of the mining industry, the produce of the diamond extracting industry amounts to 72%, of the copper-nickel extracting industry amounts to 25%, of the coal extracting industry amounts to 2%. The extraction of the copper-nickel raw materials is performed completely by the enterprises of the "Bamangwato Concessions Ltd." joint company, 15% of the capital of which belongs to the governmental sector of Botswana, and 85% of the capital belongs to the "Botswana RST" British-American firm. Within the country, there is conducted also the development of the depositions of talc and other useful minerals (the Table # 2). See on the map the placement of the facilities of the mining industry on the territory of the country.

Table # 2 - The extraction of the major types of the mineral raw materials
Mineral raw materials 1970 1975 1979 1980 1981
Mineral coal, thousand tonnes - 71.2 355.1 371.5 350.1
Copper-nickel ores, thousand tonnes (*) - 16.5 39.8 40.1 47.0
Diamonds, thousand carats 538 2397 4400 5101 4960
Talc, thousand tonnes - 0.1 0.1 - -
(*) According to the content of the metal, which is extracted

The diamond extracting industry holds the leading place within the mining industry of the country. According to the extraction of diamonds, Botswana holds the 3rd place among the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries (after Zaire and the Republic of South Africa), namely, approximately 17% of the extraction of these countries (1981). The extraction is conducted by the opencast method, and is concentrated at the 4 kimberlite pipes: Orapa (the 2nd within the world according to the quantity of reserves), DC-1 and DC-2 (the Letlhakana mine), and Jwaneng. There conducts the development of the diamond deposits the "De Beers Botswana Mining" joint company, 50% of the share capital of which belong to the government of Botswana, and 50% of the capital belong to the "De Beers Consolidated Mines" international monopoly. The "Orapa" open pit mine is the highly mechanized enterprise, has the well developed infrastructure (beneficiation plant, water reservoir, system for the water supply, access roads). For the extraction of the diamonds, there is used the X-ray installation. The extraction of the ore has amounted (1980) to 7.3 million tonnes, with the average extraction ratio for the diamonds of 64.1 carats per 100 tonnes, which provided the total extraction of approximately 4.7 million carats. At the "Letlhakana" open pit mine (the productive capacity is 400 thousand carats), during the 1980, there have been extracted 401 thousand carats of diamonds (2.1 million tonnes of kimberlite, with the average extraction ratio of 19 carats per 100 tonnes). During the 1982, there has been commissioned the new "Jwaneng" open pit mine, with the initial productive capacity of 3.5 million carats per year, with the increase to 4.5-5 million carats per year during the future. During the 1980, there has been commissioned the experimental beneficiation plant. The analysis of the test samples, which have been extracted, has indicated the high content of the diamonds of the jewellery grade (30-40%). During the future, there is expected to extract up to 11 million carats per year. At both existing enterprises, there are employed approximately 2100 labourers and service workers (1979). All diamonds, which are extracted within Botswana, are sold through the CSO (Central Selling Organization) within the London city, on the basis of the 5-year agreements (the most recent agreement has been signed during the 1980). The share of the diamonds of the jewellery grade within the extraction is from 15 to 25%, and the remaining diamonds are of the technical grade.

Extraction of the ores of the non-ferrous metals. Within the mining industry of the country, the extraction and processing of the ores of the non-ferrous metals holds the 2nd place. The major region of extraction is the Phikwe - Selebi copper-nickel-cobalt deposit within the eastern part of Botswana. The deposit consists of the two tabular sulphide depositions; the distance between them is 15 kilometres. The Phikwe deposit is being developed since the 1980 only by the underground method (the depth is 350 metres). There is being completed the construction of the 3rd phase of the enterprise (the depth of development is up to 900 metres). Since the 1980, there works the enterprise for the extraction of the copper-nickel ores, namely, "Selebi", with the designed productive capacity of approximately 2 million tonnes per year. The actual extraction in terms of metal (1980) is 40.1 thousand tonnes. At the steeply dipping ore bodies, there is used the layered system of development with the stowing of the goaf space, while at the slightly dipping ore bodies, there is used the system of development with the open clearance space, with the subsequent hydraulic filling of the goaf space. The loading of the ore is performed by scrapers into mine carts with the volume capacity of 4.6 cubic metres, the transportation is performed by electrical locomotives (8 tonnes).

The ore, which is extracted at the Phikwe - Selebi deposit, arrives into the beneficiation plant with productive capacity of 2.4 million tonnes of ore per year. The ore, which has been beneficiated, is processed at the copper-nickel smelting plant (the productive capacity is 42 thousand tonnes of matte per year). All the produce of the plant is exported into the USA, where it is subjected to further processing. During the 1979, there have been obtained from the matte 14.6 thousand tonnes of refined copper, 16.2 thousand tonnes of nickel, and 0.3 thousand tonnes of cobalt.

Extraction of other useful minerals. The development of coal is performed at the Palapye deposit by the "Morupula Colliery (Pty.) Ltd." company, which is controlled by the "Anglo American Corp." company (the capital belongs to the Republic of South Africa). The reserves of coal within Botswana are represented mostly by its low-grade types. There conducts the searches for the high-quality coals within the country the British "Shell Coal Corp." company. There exist enough reserves of other useful minerals for the organization of the annual extraction of 500 thousand tonnes of sodium carbonate, 100 thousand tonnes of sodium sulphate, and 100 thousand tonnes of potassium chloride.

During the 1979, there has been completed the detailed aeromagnetic survey of the territory of Botswana. There exist good prospects for the discovery of significant reserves of the iron and manganese ores. Within the country, there are conducted the prospecting works for uranium, copper, zinc, diamonds, and other useful minerals. There exist the project for the restoration of the extraction of gold at the abandoned mines within the region of the Francistown city.

The geological service conducts the geological survey works, and partially the prospecting works. There perform the prospecting-exploratory works within the concession areas the foreign mining companies. There is engaged in the issuance of the new licenses, and in the monitoring of the mining-extracting industry, the Department for the mines of Botswana.