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Botswana okays De Beers’ move to sell synthetic diamonds

14 june 2018
The government of Botswana said it supports the move by De Beers to enter the synthetic diamond market despite criticism by the opposition parties.

Image credit: De Beers Group

“It was our decision [to enter the synthetic diamond market],” Mineral resources permanent secretary Cornelius Dekop told Rough & Polished last week on the sidelines of the Botswana Resources Sector Conference.
Botswana had a 15 percent stake in De Beers, while the rest was controlled by Anglo American.
Meanwhile, the Southern Times reports that the country’s opposition parties were against the move.
“...De Beers has entered into the synthetic diamonds market. What does that do? Botswana thinks it has rough diamonds and we are negotiating with De Beers. But De Beers says I don’t need you,” the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko was quoted as saying.
“I can go and penetrate the synthetic diamond market.”
He said De Beers decided to enter the synthetic diamond market as the world’s superpowers like China and Russia had become big consumers of synthetic diamonds.
 “There is a challenge in the diamond market; the market is shifting from the original diamonds and because De Beers is involved in this they know about these trends. It is going to be difficult to market diamonds,” Boko said.
Independent diamond market analyst Paul Zimnisky told Rough & Polished last month that De Beers’ decision to launch Lightbox Jewelry was a strategic move out of necessity on behalf of the whole natural diamond industry.
“I don’t see this as a move by De Beers to simply take a piece of the lab-created diamond market pie, but rather take control of the lab-created industry and steer it in a way that protects their natural diamond business,” he said.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished


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