De Beers group aims to establish a hi-tech operation in Botswana which will include a De Beers Institute of Diamonds grading lab and inscription facility in Gaborone.

The establishment will also include an IT support hub for midstream technology and exploration processing and micro-diamond lab.

De Beers’ group Diamond Trading Chief Financial Officer, Susanne Swaniker-Tettey said the new agreement presents an opportunity for the establishment of a Joint Venture with a leading Sightholder to create a scale jewellery manufacturing facility in Botswana.

“The group will support appropriate skills development through establishment of a Diamond Vocational Training Institute and Diamond Entrepreneurs Programme for greater citizen participation in the industry.”

The new partnership between Botswana and De Beers will grow the role of Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) in the diamond value chain. At the signing of the Sales Agreement, the share of Debswana production sold through ODC will rise to 30 percent, then 40 percent at the end of year five and 50 percent at the end of year 10.

“This presents an opportunity for joint exploration in highly prospective regions of the world”.

At the signing of the contract, the group will have an immediate investment of P1 billion into a Diamonds for Development Fund to support economic diversification and the knowledge-based economy, with a total investment of up to P10 billion in total.

Swaniker-Tettey said during the first half of 2023, the group increased the number of sightholder factories by eight, growing from 31 at the end of 2022 to 39 by end of June 2023. “This represents a 25 percent increase.”

The Sightholders were supported through availing economically cuttable goods, mostly 2cts+ gem quality goods to be manufactured locally and their performance was driven and monitored through Rough utilisation, employment creation and skills transfer.

“In the first half of 2023, US$460 million was sold to local factories which employ 4 310 people, 77 percent locals, 62 percent of which are women."