Thursday, September 24, 2020

Botswana’s diamond polishing aims to rival China, India

Israeli diamond polishing companies investing in Diamond Technology Park are upbeat that they will rival their Chinese and Indian peers in cost containment and productivity levels through the use of modern technology.

“Israel has the best technology in the world as 80 percent of the world’s new technology comes from there. And as such, we do have the opportunity to build factory from zero,” Moti Ganz president of Israeli Diamond Council and head of Moti Ganz diamond manufacturing company said.

Three Israeli diamond polishing companies are part of the 15 companies which have been given a thumps up to operate in the Diamond Technology Park geared towards the diversification of the industry.

According to government, 3,000 jobs are to be created by the new development which is in line with other international operations, such as in Israel and Antwerp in Belgium, but , industry players said both direct and indirect jobs figure will be over 5, 000 within the next three-to-four years.

The announcement by Ganz come at a time when the Israeli diamond industry is on the verge of launching Itech system, a new technology aimed at matching the cheaper and faster diamond labour force in China. The combination of the new technology and latest figures pointing out that labour cost in diamond cutting in the country is substantially down than previously thought.

It takes about P 20 to polish a carat in Botswana compared to P 12 in China but industry players said Botswana also offers guarantee of a consistent rough diamond supply compared to other major polishing centres around the world.

“I do not think that labour cost in China and India will remain low forever,” Ganz said.

“The most important thing is to have rough ( diamonds) and this is one of the things which Botswana is prepared to offer to us. And then we can turn a lot of focus on manufacturing, marketing, branding and copyrighting of the jewellery,” he said.

“Yes, it is cheaper to manufacture in China but you have to have a combination of consistency and supply. And what is important of this is that Botswana government is taking charge of marketing of DTC Botswana. And Botswana is saying it will take care of us,” he added.

The advent of Moti Ganz, Yerushalmy and Dalumi which between the three of them are expected to create 1000 jobs is expected to see more and more Israeli diamond polishing and non- diamond companies coming into the country. The three polishing companies are also sightholders of the London-based De Beers International’s supply of choice scheme and have marketing arms in Tokyo, Europe and the United States of America.

According to the projections, 50 diamond polishing companies are expected to operate within the Park when it operates at full scale.

“I will recommend to other people (in Israel) on the next round and push for more to come to Botswana. I think the Botswana diamond industry is still fresh and full of opportunities,” Ganz said.

He said all what the diamond polishing industry needs to do is to motivate the workers in order to create “ something sparkling” at the end of the day.

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