GOLDNET.MARKET - “We want and are working to provide business with the opportunity to develop a lot of activity areas”

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Botswana plots against synthetics, to up diamond manufacturing working hours

27 june 2016
Botswana, which is the second largest diamond producer in the world after Russia, said there is need to effectively promote natural diamonds amid the rise of synthetic diamonds.
Minerals ministry deputy permanent secretary Nchidzi Mmolawa told a mining conference last week natural diamonds were “real” not “something coming out of the lab”.
“We want to position natural diamonds as something that is unique...,” said Mmolawa.
He said synthetic diamonds were derided as “cheap” as people look at natural stones as something of value.
Meanwhile, Mmolawa said that the ministry and De Beers had made an investigation into the state of diamond manufacturing in the country as it had been alleged that Botswana cannot beneficiate diamonds.
He said what they found out was “surprising”.
Mmolawa said the country had skilled employees, but the challenge was that of reduced working hours.
“In Botswana we are working far less hours than other centres are doing, why is that so? It’s because we have own local holidays and most of these people who are coming from India and Israel, etcetera, also observe their own holidays where they are coming from. So you see people working roughly 220 days a year [out of a potential 240 days] and that is significant…,” he said.
The government official said there was also need to have diamond factories working 24hrs just like the mines to boost productivity.
"We agreed with most of the factories if not all that as soon as the industry recovers or the markets recovered, it’s an area that we need to see how we can increase the working time," he said.
Botswana’s 20 remaining cutting-and-polishing factories processed about $502 million worth of diamonds in 2015 from about $1-billion in 2014 due to a number of negative factors for the industry.

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