Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Inside Debswana’s new five-year strategy

Diamond mining giant – Debswana mining company has internally launched its new five-year strategy dubbed “Debswana 2024, One Dream, One Team”. 

Amongst other things, the strategy is expected to catapult the De Beers Mining Group – Botswana government owned joint venture into new and unchartered waters.

The strategy is seen by the Debswana leadership as a bold response to the current challenging business landscape; it is also considered as a blueprint for technology-centred transformation, which will enable protection of shareholder returns in a challenging business context. 

The mining giant has been operating on a strategy that was approved by the Board in 2011 aimed at developing a high-performance organization, which was given an approval to the second leg of high-performance journey with implementation in 2014-2018 under the leadership of former Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo. 

In her address to over 5000 employees at the various launch events across the Debswana’s three sites (Orapa Letlhakane & Damtshaa Mines) recently, Debswana’s Acting Managing Director Lynette Armstrong said; “as a company we are now at a critical point, 50 years behind us and possibly another 50 years ahead. Our business environment remains volatile and uncertain. We are seeing exponential technology developments, where the world is changing rapidly, therefore our organizational structure, our set up etc. must be fast, agile, and creative as this complex world changes. 

Our profit margins are under pressure from increasing operating costs as well as critical large scale mine-life extension projects. We are therefore entering a new horizon of complexity. This gives us all an opportunity to create a new Debswana”  

The dream is to transform Debswana, and transition it is through bold technology led innovation, inspired collaborative and passionate purpose-driven people, a culture of zero harm while optimizing derived value, inclusion of its people and communities and embracing the concept of future smart mining. 

The 2024 strategy comes at a time when the diamond industry has struggled to maintain resilience over the last year following mild growth in the last two years. The softer demand for polished diamonds was also driven by two major factors: geopolitical and macroeconomic tension which lowered consumer confidence and thus demand, and an increase in e-commerce created efficiencies in the supply chain that decreased the need for inventory on hand. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, Debswana is not spurred from the severe impact that will come with the virus implications which has already been declared pandemic globally. Debswana’s diamonds biggest consumers China and US amongst others have already saw some decline in global trade. 

Meanwhile, during the five-year period to 2024, the strategy’s focus will be on delivering additional value to the business’ bottom line by effectively bridging the Debswana of today with Debswana of tomorrow. 

This means that the strategy will ensure optimized operation of Debswana of today in order to generate increased cash flow for further growth and expansion in the form of large projects and further make adequate preparation for Debswana of tomorrow. 

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