VILLAGERS LOOK TO CBM EXPLORATION FOR EMPLOYMENT
Mmashoro villagers are anxiously waiting for completion of the exploration of Coal-Bed Methane (CBM) in their area with the hope that they will benefit from employment opportunities.
Contrary to reports in the international media that communities had not been consulted when the exploration started, a Kgotla meeting at Mmashoro last week revealed that the villagers had been engaged in the consultation process and that they appreciated the development potential that would be brought about by the CBM production.
The meeting that was organised to introduce journalists to village authorities followed concerns by environmentalists that were also fuelled by a BBC documentary ‘The High Cost of Cheap gas’.
The documentary that has been largely condemned by CBM prospecting companies is an international lobby that seeks to explain the dangers of gas extraction and hydraulic fracking.
Mmashoro village Chief, Wabobedi Mompati however was more concerned about the slow pace of the prospecting than the environmental concerns outlined in the documentary. “It is not true that we were not consulted.
The prospecting companies were introduced to us when they came here and everything about their operations was explained to us.
Our concern is that they have been here since 2005 and we are anxiously waiting for them to start full production so that our children get employment,” he said
Area Councillor, Entetse Boitshwarelo, denied allegations that some of the farmers in the area had complained that their cattle had been affected by the water extracted during the prospecting.
“No such reports came to our attention. What I know is that some people had complained that the prospecting companies were not hiring locals but upon enquiry I found out that the prospecting stage requires trained geology personnel.
I am however confident that as soon as the companies get their mining licences and embark on full production, job opportunities will be available for our community,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of Kalahari Energy Botswana, Steve Martin, confirmed that the village leadership had approached him about the possibility of opening up employment opportunities for the locals.
“The Chief asked if we would give preference to the local community and I told him that as long as they are willing to work hard then we won’t have to look further than Mmashoro for the workforce when full production begins,” he said