Natural resources and energy
The large quantities of water found in the
mountainous areas are the country's most important
natural resource. Water, which the Lesothians call "the
white gold", is exported to South Africa. Lesotho also
has high quality diamonds.
South Africa and Lesotho agreed in 1986 on a joint
water project (Lesotho highlands water project, LHWP),
with the aim of supplying water in South Africa at the
same time as Lesotho will become self-sufficient in
electricity. The huge infrastructure project includes
plans for five dams, millions with large water tunnels
through the mountains, a hydroelectric plant and roads
and bridges. A first phase was completed in 2004 and a
second was started in 2014. Many foreign companies are
involved in the project, which is also supported by,
among others, the World Bank. However, it has been
criticized for large interventions in the environment
and social consequences for thousands of people who have
been forced to leave their homes or have their lands
laid under water. The project has also been surrounded
by corruption scandals.
Major exports by Lesotho with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
So far, electricity generation in Lesotho is not
enough to meet the country's needs, but electricity is
still imported from South Africa. In the long term,
however, Lesotho is expected to become an exporter, not
least since a new large wind and hydroelectric project
was launched in 2011: Lesotho highlands power project
(LHPP). It is financed to 80 percent with loans from
China and is said to be the largest project with
renewable electricity in Africa.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, LS stands for Lesotho. Visit itypeusa for more information about Lesotho.
Only a small part of the Lesothian households have
access to electricity. Firewood is an important source
of energy for the Lesothians, but the forest stock is
declining. All oil is imported.
Diamonds are mainly mined in the Letseng-la Terai
mine, which is majority owned by the international
diamond producer Gem Diamonds. In recent years, mining
has also increased in other diamond mines. The Lesothian
diamonds have the highest average carat content in the
In Lesotho there are also deposits of uranium, lead
and iron ore.
Lesotho's environment is harshly tested when people
and grazing livestock are crowded on a small part of the
land area and are subjected to severe pressure there.
The soil layer is thin and the vegetation is sparse.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
10 kilos of oil equivalents (2007)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
2 468 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.2 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
52.1 percent (2015)
The first part of hydropower construction is being
The first phase of the construction of the Lesotho
Highlands Water Project hydropower plant is completed.
The work began in 1986 and is scheduled to be completed
by 2020. The plant will supply South Africa with water
and, by extension, electricity.
An emergency permit is introduced
Prime Minister Pakhalitha Mosisili is preparing for
an emergency permit to facilitate relief work in the
face of hundreds of thousands of lesbians suffering from
famine as a result of three years of severe drought and
misery. The country is appealing to the world about food