Botswana Diamonds expands its land holdings in the Kalahari

Diamond exploration company Botswana Diamonds has been granted four prospecting licences – covering just under 2 332 km2 – in the Kalahari of Botswana.

The prospecting licences are in the same general area as Gem Diamonds’ Ghaghoo mine, as well as Botswana Diamonds’ own KX36 project.

“I am pleased that we have been awarded these prospecting licences in the Kalahari of Botswana, which we believe will be the next major diamond-producing area in the country.

“Exploration is a long game, particularly diamond exploration, and we believe the industry is going through a structural change which will see the natural product, particularly from Botswana, find its premium niche in world markets,” chairperson John Teeling comments.

Source: Miningweekly

HB Antwerp co-founders clash over gem trader’s future as Botswana deal looms

Diamond processor and trader HB Antwerp said on Monday it had removed one of its three co-founders from management following differences over strategy, a development that comes amid a pending sales pact with major producer Botswana.

Oded Mansori, who co-founded HB Antwerp in 2020 with partners Shai de Toledo and Rafael Papismedov, said he was taking them to court over his removal.

“On September 1, HB terminated Mr Oded Mansori’s management role in all the HB Companies,” the Belgian company said in a statement, citing a “sharp difference in strategic vision and approaches to business”.

The government of Botswana, the world’s No. 1 diamond producer by value, said in March that it had agreed to buy a 24% stake in HB Antwerp. As part of the deal, state-owned Okavango Diamond Company would supply HB with an undisclosed quantity of rough diamonds for five years.

The deal is yet to be signed.

Mansori, a long-time diamond dealer, said in a separate statement that he was “determined to defend his vision and to fight for the wellbeing and the future of HB,” and that “a legal process is currently underway in court.”

Mansori, who declined to comment further, said he was still a shareholder in the company.

HB also has a partnership with Lucara Diamond Corp, buying stones of 10 carat quality and above from the Toronto-listed miner’s Karowe Mine in central Botswana at prices based on the estimated polished outcome of each diamond.

Lucara did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the legal tussle could impact its own deal with HB Antwerp.

In 2022, HB Antwerp partnered with Microsoft to track mined gems via blockchain, as consumers focus on clearing the supply chain of fraudsters and diamonds mined in war zones and sold to fund insurgencies.

Other diamond miners, including Anglo American’s unit De Beers, also use blockchain platforms to trace their diamonds and verify authenticity.


Diamonds are for now: Botswana reach new deal with De Beers

Botswana has reached an eleventh-hour deal with diamond giant De Beers after months of tense negotiations that saw the continent’s top producer threatening to cut ties with the storied company.

The Botswana government and Anglo-American, the majority owner of De Beers, have reached an “agreement in principle”, the two sides said in a statement issued late Friday.

The agreement provides for a new 10-year agreement to sell the rough diamonds produced by Debswana — a joint venture equally owned by the government and De Beers — and a 25-year extension of its mining licenses.

The agreement also gives Botswana an increased 30 percent of diamond production for sale via the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, progressively increasing to 50 percent in the final year of the contract, De Beers said in a separate statement on Saturday.

No value was given for the agreement.

The previous 2011 sale agreement between the southern African country, one of the continent’s richest, and the world’s largest diamond company by value, was extended exceptionally until June 30, 2023, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under terms negotiated by the two sides in 2011, De Beers received 90 percent of the rough diamonds mined, while Botswana had 10 percent to sell itself.

In 2020, Botswana’s share was hiked to 25 percent.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi had threatened to cut ties with the company if the latest talks proved unfavourable for his country.

“If we don’t achieve a win-win situation each party will have to pack its bags and go,” he said in February.

The country turned up the heat the following month by announcing it would soon conclude an agreement to take a 24 percent stake in the Belgian diamond manufacturer HB Antwerp.

Last year, De Beers obtained about 70 percent of its rough diamonds from Botswana.

Diamond mining accounts for a third of the landlocked country’s GDP.

Source: arynews

Botswana president insists on bigger share of diamonds from De Beers venture

Botswana will not back down on demands for a bigger share of rough diamonds from its joint venture with De Beers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Thursday, upping the stakes as talks for a new sales deal appear to be stalling.

Botswana and De Beers mine the precious stones through their equally owned, 54-year-old mining venture, Debswana Diamond Co. The current diamond sales deal, in place since 2011, has been extended three times since 2020 but is set to expire next month.

De Beers, a unit of Anglo American Plc, gets 75% of Debswana’s production, which was 24 million carats in 2022. The balance is sold to state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, a vehicle established in 2011 as Botswana began moves to independently sell some gems outside of the De Beers system.

Masisi, who has been Botswana’s president since 2018 and will seek re-election in next year’s elections, now wants Botswana to sell more of its diamonds outside the De Beers channel.

“Our agreement with De Beers is very restrictive to us. We signed it at a time when we didn’t know much, but now our eyes are open,” Masisi said at a community meeting in Mmadinare, 400 kilometres (248.55 miles) north-east of the capital, Gaborone.

Masisi hinted at a possible stalemate and litigation over the sales agreement.

“Even if we lose the litigation, our diamonds will remain ours and we will never give in. If I am going to lose votes because of this issue, then so be it,” said Masisi, speaking in Setswana.

Masisi has previously threatened to walk away from the talks if Botswana does not get a bigger share of Debswana’s output for marketing outside the De Beers system. The government has not publicly stated what share it seeks, but it is believed to be as high as 50%, double the current allocation.

De Beers was not immediately available to comment.

The diamond giant says Botswana receives more than 80% of returns from Debswana, after taxes and royalties are factored in. De Beers has previously expressed confidence that its five-decade partnership with Botswana will continue, on terms “that make economic and strategic sense for both parties.”


HB Antwerp Invests in Botswana’s Young Diamond Talent

HB Antwerp has announced a partnership with Botswana to foster a new generation of diamond talent.

It has signed a a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

They will jointly organize traineeships for Botswanan youth, offer scholarships for promising local talent, drive innovative projects backed by digital supply chains, and create job opportunities in the diamond sector.

The move comes as Botswana threatens to walk away from its long-standing sales agreement with De Beers, which is due for renewal at the end of June.

There has been media speculation that the Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), wholly owned by the Botswana government, was planning to sell its specials (+10.8-carats) to Belgian manufacturer HB Antwerp and to Canada-based Lucara and instead of De Beers.

HB Antwerp says it promotes respect for local communities, fair labor and pay, and investment in skills training and job placement opportunities for local workers.

Rafael Papismedov, its managing partner and strategy director, said: “Young people in Africa have incredible potential, but often do not have access to meaningful opportunities.

“We believe in the power of diamonds to catalyze positive change and look forward to leveraging this partnership to deliver on that potential for the Botswanan people.”

Source: idexonline

Botswana’s diamond trade is expected to depreciate due to reduced demand

Botswana diamond mining
Botswana diamond mining

Botswana’s finance ministry disclosed that the diamond trade in Botswana is set to fall back in 2023, due to reduced demand.
This is as opposed to 2022 when Botswana’s total mining production increased by 8.2%.
Botswana anticipates that the production of diamonds would fall by 1% in 2023, and growth in the diamond trade will decrease to 7%.
An official from Botswana’s finance ministry stated on Wednesday that Botswana anticipates its mining sector’s production to remain flat this year as the diamond business loses its luster as a result of a decline in consumer spending and reduced demand for diamond jewelry.

In 2022, the total mining production increased by 8.2%. Although Botswana is the continent’s biggest producer of diamonds, this year’s improvements in copper and coal will not make up for the fall in this commodity.

About the majority of Botswana’s diamonds are produced by Debswana, a joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers, a division of Anglo American Plc (AAL.L). In 2022, production increased by 8% to 24.1 million carats.

Trading in diamonds increased 41% in the last year, with Botswana also benefiting from Western consumers avoiding Russian stones as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

Botswana anticipates that the production of diamonds would fall by 1% in 2023 and that growth in the diamond trade will decrease to 7% from 41% in 2018.

Botswana’s finance ministry senior policy advisor, Keith Jefferis expressed the same sentiments in a statement to the American-based news agency, Reuters.

He noted that the diamond trade would face a major setback during the year, due to a slowdown in consumer demand, particularly in the USA.

He stated, “We see the diamond sector having a bit of a tough year due to an expected slowdown in consumer demand particularly in the USA, because of pressure on real income and consumption.”

High demand for coal and anticipated increases in copper mine production will somewhat offset this.

The Motheo copper mine, owned by Sandfire Resources (SFR.AX), is scheduled to begin operations this year, while the Kalahari Copperbelt’s Khoemacau copper mine is ramping up production to reach its nominal capacity of 60,000 tonnes annually.

The two active coal mines in Botswana the state-owned Morupule and Minergy’s (MIN.BT) Masama mine saw record exports in 2017 and are now considering increasing output to keep up with the country’s high demand for coal internationally.

According to forecasts from the finance ministry, the government anticipates mining royalties to decrease from 6.1 billion pula ($3.41 billion) last year to 4,5 billion pula ($3.41 billion) in 2023. The amount of dividends owed to the state would likewise decrease, from 15 billion to 11,3 billion pesos, in 2022.

Source: africa.businessinsider

Botswana Has the World’s Two Richest Diamond Mines

Diamond mine, in Botswana
Diamond mine, in Botswana

A new list names the Jwaneng diamond mine, in Botswana, as the world’s richest diamond mine.

A new list by, quoted by IDEX Online, names the Jwaneng diamond mine, in Botswana, as the world’s richest diamond mine for the first three quarters of 2022. Jwaneng produced 10.3 million carats in 2022.

Orapa, also in Botswana, came second with 8 million carats. Both Jwaneng and Orapa are operated by Debswana, a partnership between De Beers and the government of Botswana. Jwaneng and Orapa were also listed as the two highest value diamond mines in the world, estimated at $1.25 billion and $976 million respectively, “based on average historic annualized prices of $121.5 per carat,” according to the report.

Alrrosa’s Udachny mine came third. Although Alrosa has not published production figures since the war with Ukraine, bases its conclusion on the mine’s 2021 production of 4.6 million carats. Fourth comes the Venetia mine in South Africa 4.6m carats, operated by De Beers. In fifth is Nyurba, in Russia, with 3.6 million carats, based on 2021 numbers.

Source: israelidiamond

Lucara Sales Fall Amid Lack of High-Value Diamonds

The Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.
Lucara Diamonds – Karowe Diamond Mine

Lucara Diamond Corp.’s sales dropped in the third quarter as the company supplied fewer large and expensive stones from its lucrative Karowe mine in Botswana.

Revenue fell 31% year on year to $49.9 million, while net profit slumped 86% to $1.8 million, Lucara reported Wednesday.

Sales of rough from Karowe declined 36% to $46.5 million, with volume down 15% at 99,301 carats and the average price falling 43% to $337 per carat. The remaining revenue came from sales of third-party goods on Lucara’s Clara online platform.

Management blamed a decrease in the number of high-value diamonds the company sold to HB Antwerp through the pair’s supply agreement. The Belgian manufacturer is contracted to buy all Karowe rough of 10.8 carats or more, with Lucara receiving a proportion of the final polished proceeds.

In the third quarter a year earlier, Lucara sold four pink diamonds and two white, type IIa stones — weighing 393.5 and 257.5 carats — to HB. As a result of the unfavorable comparison, revenue from the agreement plummeted 46% to $27.1 million.

“Despite the overall decrease in revenue recognized in [the third quarter], diamond-market fundamentals continued to support healthy prices as steady demand and some inventory shortages were reported,” Lucara said. Fluctuation in the availability of 10.8-carat production is expected, it added.

Output from Karowe slid 19% year on year to 78,879 carats for the quarter.


De Beers Raises Prices of Smaller Diamonds

Sorting a parcel of rough diamonds Gaborone, Botswana.

De Beers lifted prices of smaller rough at this week’s sight, its second consecutive increase, as the industry continued to express concerns about a perceived mismatch with polished.

Goods weighing less than 0.75 carats saw price hikes of around 5% at the February sale, while larger items were mostly stable, sightholders and industry insiders told Rapaport News this week.

The latest adjustments follow a strong US holiday season for retail and come amid robust demand in the polished sector while the industry restocks. Rough prices have rocketed in recent months, reflecting this appetite as well as supply shortages.

Prices at auctions and tenders have risen even more strongly than sight goods, with traders enjoying unprecedented premiums when reselling De Beers boxes on the secondary market.

However, manufacturers’ margins have suffered. This was a major point of discussion at the Dubai Diamond Conference, which took place Monday.

“There is still some buzz, but people are very cautious now because they’ve understood that prices have hit the ceiling and [De Beers] is facing resistance now with the new prices,” a sightholder said Tuesday on condition of anonymity. “There will be some stability and there has to be some mindfulness, because rough prices are outpacing polished prices so anyone who buys rough at those prices is not going to make a profit.”

The increases at the February sight followed sharper hikes in January, when rates jumped by up to 15% in the smallest categories and by 5% to 12% in larger sizes.

“What we try and do very hard at De Beers is price properly in accordance with demand,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver told Rapaport News on the sidelines of the Dubai event. This is based on expectations of how the final polished will sell when it becomes available two or three months later, he explained. “Our crystal ball is no better than anyone else’s, but it’s based on a lot of data at the time that we make these pricing decisions.”

China Sales ‘Average’

Meanwhile, sales in the Far East during the recent Chinese New Year were steady, producing figures broadly in line with last year, dealers reported. This came despite headwinds in the latter months of 2021, including fresh Covid-19 outbreaks, a real-estate crisis, and power shortages.

The unfavorable comparison with last year’s season of post-lockdown recovery also affected the numbers, while fewer consumers took trips within China — usually a driver of seasonal demand, Cleaver pointed out.

“There’s no question that people are not traveling as much between the big Chinese cities and coming into the big Chinese cities to buy as they might have been because of [Covid-19],” he noted, cautioning that the information was preliminary. “In a sense, it could have been a bit better, but the early data I’ve seen is that it’s been an average to reasonable New Year.”

However, store openings in the mainland’s tier 3 and 4 cities are progressing well, he said.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to think that will slow down, and our clients tell us that’s continuing to happen,” the executive added.

The February sight, the second sale of the year, began on Monday and ends Friday.


Surging Diamond Demand Helps Botswana Trader Post Record Sales

Botswana Diamond Mine

Botswana’s state-run diamond trader reported record revenue last year with sales surging almost five fold after U.S. imports recovered from a Covid-19 induced slowdown.

Okavango Diamond Company sold $963 million of rough diamonds last year, said Dennis Tlaang, a company spokesman. The revenue was the most since the company began operations in 2012, he said.

“The demand for natural rough diamonds remained strong throughout 2021 driven primarily by positive market sentiment in key markets such as the United States,” Tlaang said.

Sales may rise further this year after De Beers, the world’s biggest producer of the stones, pushed through one of its most aggressive diamond price increases in recent years. Okavango also got higher than normal prices in the sole auction it held this year, Tlaang said.

De Beers Implements Big Diamond Price Hike as Demand Runs Hot. A Buying Frenzy in Cheap and Tiny Diamonds Sends Prices Soaring. Diamond Sold for $12 Million in Cryptocurrency at Sotheby’s. “We believe this is a good indicator of the market dynamics of 2022, at least for the first half of the year,” he said. “The company will continue to drive customer participation by marketing its rough diamond assortment in key markets such as Antwerp and Dubai.”

Under a 2011 agreement between De Beers and the government of Botswana, Okavango purchases 25% of the nation’s annual production for independent marketing, while the balance is sold through the De Beers’ trading network.

Source: bloomberg