The move, made two months ahead of schedule, marks the delivery of the first phase of the migration of De Beers’ sales activities to Botswana.
De Beers and Botswana’s sales agreement is the longest sales contract ever agreed between two partners. All of De Beers’ sights and sales operations will move from London to Gaborone over the next year.
By the end of 2013 De Beers hope to sell aggregated production of its worldwide operations to sightholders, helping to further transform Botswana into an international diamond centre.
With the establishment of De Beers’ aggregation in the country, it is estimated that around $6 billion (£3.82 million) worth of diamonds will flow through Botswana.
Botswana’s 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.”
CEO of the De Beers Group 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.”
Image: Rough diamonds from Debswana mines (courtesy of De Beers).