May 24, 2006
De Beers Signs Agreement with Botswanan Government
De Beers signed agreements with the government of Botswana yesterday, calling it the beginning of "one of the most enduring and most important partnerships in the global diamond industry for decades to come," according to a release.
The agreements renewed De Beers' mining license for the Jwaneng mine, one of the most lucrative diamond mines in the world, until 2029. De Beers' current licenses for the Orapa, Lethlakane and Damtshaa Mines in Botswana were also extended for the same amount of time. De Beers has held a mining license for Botswanan mines for 36 years.
Another agreement governed the sale of production from the Debswana mine to De Beers' Diamond Trading Company for five more years. The agreement establishes a 50/50 partnership between De Beers and the government of Botswana, which will sort and value all of Debswana's diamond production. The DTC will carry out local sales and marketing activities and work to establish diamond manufacturing operations in the country and plans to build an $83 million building to house the headquarters of the Botswanan operation in the city of Gaborone.
"De Beers fully supports Botswanaís desire to establish a downstream diamond industry, and we are pleased to announce that diamonds will be made available locally for cutting and polishing factories in Botswana," said Gareth Penny, managing director of the De Beers Group. "De Beers will work closely with Government, and together, we are excited by the opportunity this ambitious initiative has for further local job creation, while maintaining the full value for Botswana's diamonds."