Grumblings in Diamond Land
Supplies not yet affected
The worlds cutting centers, diamantaires and retailers look on nervously as Africas main diamond-producing nations increasingly voice dissatisfaction over laws that govern diamond production. For now, the grousing has not disrupted supply
Discontent in Botswana played out through a recent strike at Debswana and heated local newspaper editorials. (Debswana is owned 50/50 by De Beers and Botswana.) The strike, now over, was the first in 21 years to halt production in Botswana.
In South Africa, new mining laws promote socio-economic empowerment for blacks, skill development and job creation. But discontent simmers. Despite proposed changes in mining laws to benefit local people, the countrys deputy minerals and energy minister, Lulu Xingwana, told parliament rich white cartels are continuing, even today, to loot our diamonds.
Editorials in Namibian newspapers allege De Beers fudges tax and royalty payments to the government and blames the government for accepting whatever De Beers deems appropriate. Auditor General Dirk Kotze reportedly is looking into royalty equations to determine how De Beers values diamonds.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.