Lab Grown Threat to Botswana Economy

Lab grown diamonds are a threat to Botswana’s economic lifeblood, says the country’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

He was speaking to reporters on Wednesday (29 May) ahead of the first phase in a $6bn project to extend the life of Jwaneng, its flagship diamond mine.

“If lab grown diamonds take our space, then you and I are finished,” he said. He pledged to wage “a peaceful assault against lab grown diamonds, to give confidence to our partners and dampen any attraction to lab growns.”

He was departing for JCK in Las Vegas, where he also said he’d be lobbying the US over G7 sanctions on Russia that route all EU diamonds through a single entry point in Antwerp.

Meanwhile work is about to start to start of the first phase of the Jwaneng development, a establish a drilling platform at a cost of $1bn.

It began commercial operation in 1982 as an open pit operation run by Debswana, a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government.

Open pit operations are expected to end in 2032 but underground mining could extend Jwaneng’s life to 2050 or beyond.

It currently represents about 40 per cent of De Beers total production (10.3m carats in 2022).

Three quarters of Debswana’s production is currently sold by De Beers. But under a new deal agreed last June, the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) will see its share increase over the next decade from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

Source: IDEX