Exploring the theme Sustainability: People, Product and Planet, the summit brings together leaders from Botswana’s Government, the country’s diamond sector and the wider international diamond industry to discuss the critical role natural diamonds play in driving sustainable development for producer countries. It also seeks to deliver a call to action for the industry to unite on sustainability priorities for shared benefit.
Delivering the keynote address, His Excellency, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, noted that in a world of evolving consumer attitudes, current challenging trading conditions and the ever-changing complexities of diamond recovery, sustainability was the critical point of congruence for the diamond industry. He also highlighted the advancements Botswana had made in driving sustainable economic development through prudent natural resource management for the benefit of its people, its natural environment and its diamonds.
Botswana’s Minister of Minerals & Energy, the Honourable Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, also gave an opening address in which he said: “The natural diamond industry has been in existence for over 100 years. Throughout its history, the industry has experienced many changes. From major technological advances that have transformed productivity and supported value chain development to consolidation of industry players and diamond centres, the sector has seen major evolution, and has continued to grow and expand to become a leading driver of development throughout the producer countries and across the value chains. The industry has thrived for decades, transcending many global challenges that have seen other industries and major corporations fail to survive.
“Our diamonds are not just gems; they are the foundation upon which the hope and promise of our economies has been built. They are the engine through which our aspirations for greater wealth, more diversified economies, the development of people and a more fair and equitable future can be realised. But this potential can only be fully harnessed if we embrace a new paradigm, one that places sustainability at its very core.”
De Beers Group CEO, Al Cook, in his welcome remarks, addressed the macroeconomic landscape and how it was affecting the industry while expressing his optimism for the future of natural diamonds given the sector’s strong foundations. Such foundations included favourable long-term supply and demand dynamics underpinned by rising middle classes in China and India, Botswana’s focus on building a knowledge-based economy to support innovation and productivity in diamonds that will be felt across the entire industry, and the transformative new partnership between Botswana and De Beers that provides long term stability for the industry, while being a catalyst for socioeconomic transformation within Botswana.
“Government and De Beers’ new 10-year Sales Agreement for Debswana’s rough diamond production through to 2033, and the 25-year extension of the Debswana mining licences through to 2054, represent a new partnership for a new era. It is a transformative agreement that will see Botswana equalise the share of Debswana’s diamonds that it sells into the market, enables De Beers’ long-term capital investment in Debswana’s expansion through projects like the Jwaneng Underground transition, and makes possible the potential for the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs in Botswana both within its diamond economy and in emerging sectors outside of it,” he said.
“Our partnership with Botswana has endured for more than 50 years not by standing still. It has evolved, and our recent agreement with Government will support the growth of Botswana and the diamond industry for decades to come.”
The Natural Diamond Summit runs until Wednesday, 15 November. It includes panel discussions with industry leaders as well as tours for delegates to experience Botswana’s diamond sector first-hand, including visits to cutting and polishing factories and the world’s most valuable diamond mine, Jwaneng. Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit conservation sites managed by De Beers and some of Botswana’s world-class tourism destinations.