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Botswana sees rough diamond supplies worth $800 mln this year

13 february 2012

Botswana, the world’s leading diamond producer by value, said the new sales agreement it reached last year with De Beers, will see supplies of rough to local sightholders reach $800 million this year.
The sales agreement provided for an independent sales outlet for the Botswana government at 10 percent of Debswana's run of mine production and would rise to 15 percent over a five year period.
Acting Minerals, Energy and Water Resources permanent secretary Nchidzi Mmolawa told Rough & Polished on the side-lines of the just ended Investing in African Mining Indaba that the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana had supplied rough worth $600 million to its 16 sightholders last year.
“This is a major growth considering that manufactures bought rough worth just $28 million in 2005,” he said.
Mmolawa also noted that five new sightholders had been shortlisted by DTC Botswana for the new season set to begin in March.
He admitted that the agreement that would see DTC relocate its Sights and sales operations from London to Gaborone by the end of 2013 would not do much to develop the local mining industry.
He said it would however provide employment to locals, boost the tourism industry, as well increase supply of rough available for sale to the sightholders for polishing.
Mmolawa also said that the local jewelley industry was still in its infancy as there was only a single factory operational.
“The second one is currently under construction, so I can say that the jewellery sector is still developing,” he said.

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