Botswana has placed diamond beneficiation as one of its key focus areas as part of the country’s diversification programme, a government minister has said.
Minister of mineral resources,
Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in
Gaborone that the end result of it is to create employment opportunities for
citizens and generate value in the economy.
“Particular attention is on the diamonds where it is intended to develop a vibrant cutting and polishing industry as well as jewellery manufacturing,” he said.
Botswana, which is the second largest diamond producer in the world after Russia, had been leading its peers in Africa on beneficiation.
It established what it called the Diamond Hub in Gaborone to promote diamond beneficiation.
This move was also boosted when the country signed a deal with De Beers that saw it receiving 10 percent of Debswana’s production in 2011, rising to 15 percent in 2016.
However, diamond cutting and polishing companies in the country had been grappling with high operational costs.
The country was said to have 20 cutting-and-polishing factories in 2015 and were at the time processing $1-billion worth of diamonds a year.
Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished, from Gaborone, Botswana