The group Chief Executive of mining giant, De Beers, Philippe Mellier maintains that global diamond sightholders who have been visiting Botswana for the past 12 months have already adopted to the new home of De Beers Global Sightholders Sales commonly known as DBGSS.
Although the mining giant previously admitted that during its initial interaction with sightholders, some of the customers expressed the discomfort and apprehensions of lost business hours that will inevitably come with the relocation, Mellier said this week.
The relocation was a result of extensive horse-trading by both De Beers and Botswana Government, part of which included increasing the tenure of the sales agreement between the two parties from a traditional five year cycle to 10 years.
As a result, the mining giant which also owns part of Debswana Mining Company spent large sums of money to build the state-of-the-art offices in Gaborone in the build-up to the relocation that culminated with migration from the U.K of aggregation function to the historic sight being conducted in Botswana.
In an address made to the sightholders and passed on to this publication on Tuesday, Mellier maintained that success in the diamond industry is dependent upon investment to sustain supply, finance and demand.
In a brief interview with Sunday Standard Business before the annual sightholders cocktail dinner, Mellier pointed out to a number of mining projects in Botswana, South Africa, Canada and Namibia that he says will deliver sustainability to De Beers.
He mentioned the progress at the Cut-8 project at the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, which is estimated to deliver more than 100 million extra carats; the Venetia Underground project in South Africa, which will extend the life of that mine to 2044; progress at the Gahcho Ku├® in Canada, and the recent opening of the Sendelingsdrif mine in Namibia.
However despite Mellier’s confidence, the industry is still concerned that Botswana still has no airport of international standards with the over P500 million Sir Seretse Khama International Airport still not 100 percent complete. There are also no direct flights, which mean Sightholders from the U.S will find it hard as they will spend two days on the plane.
At the same time, Gaborone also lacks glamorous entertainment centres like London. The night life is dull and hours of operation for bars and clubs is restricted since Ian Khama became the President in 2008.
De Beers conducts 10 sights every year with each generating an average of between US$ 500-600 million or US$ 5-6 billion annually. This means therefore from now, these large sums of money will be generated locally.
However, despite diamonds now coming back home, the global cutting and polishing industry is still dominant in India, which accounts for 92 percent by volume and 76 percent by value. [email protected]