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De Beers begins worldwide diamond aggregation in Botswana
It is relocating its Sights and sales operations from London to Gaborone over the next year
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 15 2012 6:09PM
Reference: 7172  

Advancing two months ahead of schedule, the De Beers Group formally commences worldwide diamond aggregation in Gaborone today. The milestone is part of the sales agreement between De Beers and Botswana, and marks the delivery of the first phase of the migration of De Beers’ sales activities to Botswana.

The aggregation activities will take place in the new purpose-built De Beers facility housed within the DTC Botswana building. By the end of 2013, more than P170 m will have been invested in the building for modifications and extensions. The process of aggregation moves after almost 80 years from London to Gaborone. It involves the mixing of like-for-like diamonds from De Beers’ global production, and is an integral part of De Beers’ business. The aggregation provides Sightholders with supply consistency, enabling them to plan downstream business and commit to long-term investments in producing countries such as Botswana.

The migration of aggregation is the first step of a process that will, by the end of 2013, enable De Beers to sell aggregated production from its worldwide operations to Sightholders.

Speaking at the launch, His Honour the Vice President and Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Ponatshego H.K. Kedikilwe said, “This is a key milestone for the diamond industry in Botswana. By shifting the centre of gravity of the diamond world here, we are bringing in more economic activity, more skills and more broad-based business opportunities to the country.”

The De Beers Group CEO, Philippe Mellier, added, “De Beers has always been committed to beneficiation in Botswana, but today, and over the next year, we will be changing our business to cement that commitment for the long term. Our focus is on providing our Sightholders with the continuity and quality of supply they expect while living up to our commitment to our partners to push beneficiation to greater levels than ever seen before". He further added that “As De Beers shifts more and more of its sales operations to Botswana over the next year, we will solidify the long-term future of the partnership and work to transform Botswana into one of the world’s leading diamond trading and manufacturing hubs.”

The sales agreement between De Beers and Botswana will see De Beers relocate its Sights and sales operations - including professionals, skills, equipment and technology - from London to Gaborone over the next year. With the establishment of De Beers’ aggregation in Botswana, it is anticipated that about $6 billion worth of diamonds will flow through the country.

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