Botswana may seek to increase its stake in De Beers as part of the diamond company’s sale by major shareholder, Anglo American.

Anglo American, the $30.7 billion British multinational mining company, has announced plans to divest De Beers, its diamond mining and jewellery subsidiary. Ango American holds an 85 percent interest in De Beers and the government of Botswana owns the minority 15 percent share.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi hailed Anglo’s planned divestment of its 85 percent stake in De Beers and said increasing Botswana’s stake beyond 15 percent would be considered as long as it is attractive. Masisi revealed this during Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Letswapo region star rally in Palapye.

“When De Beers is sold we will increase our shares in the company. We will also vet the company that buys from Anglo American. We want the company that has money and a fat balance sheet.

“The company should also have patience. We are currently in talks. This is a sensitive issue and has to be protected,” the president said.

Masisi said this industry requires somebody who is in it for the long-haul, because it has its ups and downs. The move by Anglo American is said to form part of major structural changes that will simplify the Anglo American portfolio and deliver growth.

According to the company, plans will see De Beers being divested or demerged, to improve strategic flexibility for both De Beers and Anglo American. Anglo is exploring a range of options to separate the De Beers business, having made significant progress toward finalising the sales agreement with the Botswana government.

The restructuring will allow the company to focus primarily on its copper, premium iron ore and crop nutrient assets. The miner presented the new strategy at the JCK show in Las Vegas recently. As part of the restructuring,

Anglo American is also exploring options for the divestment of its steelmaking coal and nickel assets, while Anglo American Platinum will be demerged in a responsible and orderly manner to optimise value for shareholders of both entities.

Upon completion of the asset review, which commenced in 2023, Anglo American plans to implement various major structural changes to focus on operational excellence, portfolio simplification and growth.

De Beers has announced a decision to put an end to its production of lab-grown diamonds after a six-year experimental run. The diamond mining giant has elected to focus its efforts on natural mined diamonds while shifting its synthetic diamonds project to industrial purposes only.

Masisi also expressed disapproval of synthetic diamonds during one of the world’s diamond trade show in Las Vegas last week. The President stated that the existence of lab-grown diamonds presents a threat to Botswana’s revenue making stream of natural diamond production and trading.