Milestone in transformation of Botswana into a global diamond centre.
Gaborone, 14 August 2012 – The De Beers Group formally commences worldwide diamond aggregation in Gaborone today, two months ahead of schedule. The milestone is part of the sales agreement between De Beers and Botswana, and marks the delivery of the first phase of the migration of De Beers’ sales activities to Botswana.
The process of aggregation, which involves the mixing of like-for-like diamonds from De Beers’ global production, is an integral part of De Beers’ business. It provides Sightholders with supply consistency to enable them to plan their downstream business and commit to long-term investments in producing countries such as Botswana. Until this week, aggregation had taken place in London for nearly 80 years.
The sales agreement between De Beers and Botswana is the longest sales contract ever agreed between the two partners, and will see De Beers relocate its Sights and sales operations – including professionals, skills, equipment and technology – from London to Gaborone over the next year. The migration of aggregation is the first step of a process that will, by the end of 2013, enable De Beers to sell aggregated production from its worldwide operations to Sightholders, and will help further transform Botswana into a leading international diamond centre. With the establishment of De Beers’ aggregation in Botswana, it is anticipated that about $6 billion worth of diamonds will flow through the country.
The aggregation activities will take place in the new purpose-built De Beers facility housed within the DTC Botswana building. By the end of 2013, more than P170 m will have been invested in the building for modifications and extensions.
Speaking at the launch, His Honour the Vice President and Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Ponatshego H.K. Kedikilwe said, “This is a key milestone for the diamond industry in Botswana. By shifting the centre of gravity of the diamond world here, we are bringing in more economic activity, more skills and more broad-based business opportunities to the country. We are also growing our international profile and establishing the kind of platform that all economies need for sustainable growth and diversification.”
The De Beers Group CEO, Philippe Mellier, added, “This is a proud day for De Beers. We have worked hard to bring the aggregation of our worldwide production to Botswana ahead of schedule. De Beers has always been committed to beneficiation in Botswana, but today, and over the next year, we will be changing our business to cement that commitment for the long term. Our focus is on providing our Sightholders with the continuity and quality of supply they expect while living up to our commitment to our partners to push beneficiation to greater levels than ever seen before.
As De Beers shifts more and more of its sales operations to Botswana over the next year, we will solidify the long-term future of the partnership and work to transform Botswana into one of the world’s leading diamond trading and manufacturing hubs.”