Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Diamonds finally coming home

The world’s diamond industry is expected to move down here by mid next year as the aggregation of goods moves from Europe to Botswana, an insider said this week.

“We are yet to see a massive movement of rough diamonds valued at close to US $ 6 billion (nearly P 40 billion) or P 49 million carats coming through Botswana every year for aggregation.

The move is expected to create a much more cosmopolitan atmosphere and drive the economy forward beyond the diamond mining businesses.

“This is the first time of such business magnitude to move from the developed countries into Africa,” Sheila Khama, head of De Beers Botswana said Thursday, as she repeats Gareth Penny’s words in Tel Aviv and Antwerp over the last ten months.

“The good thing is that this was a regional initiative, where Botswana, Namibia and South Africa came together at heads of state level and on top of that De Beers,” she said.

The new move, which will see over 40 percent of the world’s produced diamonds from Botswana, Canada Namibia and South Africa coming here for aggregation is a turn-around since the diamonds were first discovered in Latin America and India over three hundred years ago.

The value of diamonds, which are sold and treated here, will rise from US $ 3.2 billion to US $ 6 billionÔÇölarger than the annual GDP of the country.

“All that we could urge Batswana to do is to look at the opportunities around that,” Khama said.

Botswana’s first full control of diamonds outside Europe is expected before June next year when aggregation will take place a month later.

Simply put, aggregation means a process where stones of matching characters are put together to ensure that there is consistency to the cutting and polishing industryÔÇöand characters of the stones and their sizes vary.

However, the new development will not mean that De Beers will lose control over the price book which it has controlled since 1934.
In Botswana, the diamonds will be aggregated under a newly registered company, which was approved by the Registrar of companies at the beginning of this week. The company, which will operate under the flag-ship De Beers Aggregation Botswana, will be the subsidiary of De Beers London.

Parcels packaged from Botswana and other existing De Beers’s operations, and possibly Russia, will be handled by an estimated 30 employeesÔÇöwho would be highly trained in the diamond business.

The para-artisans will work about one-week per month in different divisions serving the industry.

Some of the diamonds would be sold to the local cutting and polishing companies provided that they conduct themselves in a good manner.


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