Tuesday, September 22, 2020

De Beers’ concerns not wholly addressed as DTC Botswana opens for business

The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana will be officially opened on March 18.

Briefing journalists on Friday, DTC Botswana Managing Director Brian McDonald said the new company will maximize the benefits of diamond beneficiation for Botswana.

Located in Gaborone, along the Airport Road, DTC Botswana will over and above servicing its currently 16 sight holders licensed in Botswana be the aggregation center for all of De Beers’ production.
The plant built by De Beers at a cost of P471 million will sort in excess of 30 million carats of diamonds a year; making it by far the world’s largest sorting facility.

The plant has been designed with enough space to handle all of the Group’s total production, from South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania.

Mc Donald said while there has been significant progress made in meeting the logistical support services needed, there is still a long way to go.
These include security, banking services as well as air transport.

In their negotiations with the Botswana government that led to the establishment of DTC Botswana, De Beers has always pointed out their concerns regarding such logistical services. At one point, De Beers’ fears almost spurned the realization of the project.

De Beers’ concerns led to a dragging on of the negotiations which resulted in the project running behind schedule.
Of particular concern is the absence of direct flights between Gaborone and Europe.

At present all passengers to Botswana from Europe and vice versa have to travel through either Johannesburg or Cape Town.

McDonald said Botswana stands to benefit from continued growth from diversification of workforce through the creation of a new industry.
DTC Botswana Plant is expected to employ about 3000 staff.

McDonald said DTC Botswana will be a potential catalyst for the development of new sectors such as banking, IT and Security.

Over and above becoming a new stream of revenue for government, the centre is also expected to enhance Botswana’s position as a leading competitor in the world’s diamond trade.

“This development strengthens the joint venture partnership between De Beers and Botswana. Such successful practices aim to encourage foreign capital investment in Botswana,” said Mc Donald.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.