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Lesotho’s political and constitutional history has been relatively peaceful compared to what has been experienced by many other African countries. Since gaining its independence in 1966, there have been notable lengthy periods of constitutional rule, the first being from 1966 to 1970 while the second extends from 1993 to today.
In regard to Lesotho’s economy, the country benefits from its membership of a common monetary area and in particular from its close economic ties to South Africa, which it has established as a key importer of its excess hydroelectric power. The government has established a multi-billion dollar World Bank-supported Highland Water Project which channels water from the Maluti Mountains to the Johannesburg/Gauteng region of South Africa.
Lesotho has long been known as a source of large, high-quality diamonds, at least initially from alluvial deposits. Nevertheless, most of the country’s diamond assets have to date remained unexploited with the majority of construction having been derived from the Letseng-la-Terai deposit originally mined by De Beers between 1970 and 1981.
In total, there are 39 known kimberlite pipes and 366 kimberlite blows and dykes in the country of which 24 have been shown to be diamondiferous. Those that are considered significant include the nearby Kao, Lemphane and Mothae diamond pipes, as well as the Firestone-controlled Liqhobong pipes, all high in the Maluti Mountains.