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Botswana faces depletion of production levels
No need to press panic buttons as yet over the countrys economic lifeblood
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 9 2006 12:00AM
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Reference: 241  

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Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana, a blue-chip company has increasing concerns of depletion. Carat production at Botswanas Jwaneng diamond mine recently celebrated in style a carat production level of 15.6 million after a disappointing performance of 13.6 million carats – 20% below the target - in the previous year. The record production stimulated fears of depletion once more.

"While we might be celebrating this impressive performance, we must not forget that diamonds deposits are not forever as a matter of fact," said an employee of the mine at the celebrations in Jwaneng. However, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr Akolang Tombale said there is no need to press panic buttons as yet over the countrys economic lifeblood. "I dont think we are over-mining. The mine has stabilized. If we continue producing between 30 and 32 million carats, then we are not over-mining," he said.

Botswana domestic diamond industry has been increasing production; the weakening of the dollar against the Pula has cut down the gains. Diamond earnings are denominated in US dollar terms. Though Debswana hit the headlines in 2003 for record-breaking carat production output of 30.4 million, the countrys earnings dwindled to P10.5 billion. In 2002, Debswana realized earnings of P11.2 billion over a carat output of 28.4 million - lower than 30.4 recorded in 2003.The Company at the time blamed reduced profits on the exchange rate. But with the recent devaluation, the mining giant is expected to increase its profit margins on the back of increased production levels.

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