Botswana, De Beers extend sales agreement

Diamond miner, De Beers Group and the government of Botswana have come into an agreement to extend the existing deal for the sale of Debswana’s rough diamond production by a year.

The extension which will go until June 30, 2023 follows positive progress seen since the return of sales activities back to Botswana, almost two years after the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to be held in cities including Antwerp and Dubai.

Diamond mining

The majority of diamond mining in the Botswana is done by Debswana, a company jointly held by De Beers and the Botswana government, which sells 75% of the diamonds mined to De Beers. The remaining 25% of the diamonds is sold to state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.

Debswana operates four mines; Jwaneng, Damtshaa, Letlhakane and Orapa. The operations produced 22.3-million carats of diamonds in 2021. The return is expected to bring in valuable foreign exchange to Botswana, which had lost out additional earnings from travel, hospitality and ancillary services, even though sales income still came to the country.

The mining industry of Botswana has dominated the national economy of Botswana since the 1970s. Diamond has been the leading component of the mineral sector since large-scale diamond production began in 1972 by Debswana. Most of Botswana’s diamond production is of gem quality, resulting in the country’s position as the world’s leading producer of diamond by value. Copper, gold, nickel, coal and soda ash production also has held significant, though smaller, roles in the economy.

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