Botswana and De Beers to renew their vows
Discussions between the Government and De Beers Group are in progress as the long-standing partners look to strike a new deal beyond the current agreement, set to elapse in 2021.
In a rich partnership spanning the last 50 years, the two have successfully run Debswana mines in Jwaneng, Orapa, and Letlhakane.
Addressing a joint press briefing on Tuesday this week with De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale stressed he was confident of a positive outcome.
Molale said the world would be shocked if Botswana and De Beers were to end their relationship.
“The diamond industry would never be the same again, that’s a fact,” Molale predicted emphatically.
In his keynote address during the opening of the 2018 diamond conference, President Mokgweetsi Masisi had told the fully packed GICC Conference Hall that the Botswana government and De Beers were about to ‘renew their vows’.
“As I speak, a team has been assembled to kick-start the negotiations for the next deal agreement. This partnership is destined to continue even stronger than ever before,” said President Masisi.
Speaking to journalists following the opening of the conference, Molale said negotiations were at a stage where the two parties are crafting heads of agreement.
Molale described De Beers, which government owns a 15 percent in it, as ‘a good partner’.
The remaining 85 percent in De Beers is held by mining conglomerate, Anglo America.
“This has to be done well in time before the current agreement lapses. The current one lapses in 2021, this is to ensure that we don’t work under pressure,” said the minerals minister, who added this will be the third negotiations he has been be involved in, noting that his experience has taught him they take time.
“You have to read page by page, if you don’t, from the government’s side you will sell the country, if they don’t from their side, they will sell De Beers,” explained Molale.
De Beers CEO, Cleaver has also announced that the diamond mining group is set to spend between $10 billion and $15 billion in the next coming six years.
However, he and Molale could not disclose how much of that total will be spent on local Debswana mines.