Gaborone — Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Mineral Security, Mr Eric Molale has affirmed government's commitment to develop a sustainable diamond industry in Botswana as spelt out in the National Minerals Policy.
Officiating at the launch of M Suresh diamond cutting and polishing operations in Botswana, Mr Molale said his ministry was in the process of undertaking a beneficiation study, which aims at informing government of measures required to have viable beneficiation projects in Botswana.
The setting up of M Suresh factory, he said, should be considered as a testimony that De Beers Global Sightholders Sales was playing its part in ensuring that rough diamonds were availed for local manufacturing.
He indicated that Botswana, De Beers and M Suresh should be in the partnership towards growing Botswana's diamond industry, enhance the current impressive performance by ensuring sustainability of diamond manufacturing companies and effective transfer of skills to the locals.
He noted that government aimed to expand its involvement in the value chain from minerals extraction to increase local processing of not only diamonds, but also other mineral resources.
He further commended M Suresh diamond cutting and polishing factory for the contribution it has made to Botswana's economy, particularly in the diamond industry.
Through its manufacturing business plan, Mr Molale said M Suresh has been contributing to the country's GDP and adding value to the goods allocated for local beneficiation as set out in the Debswana sales agreement.
He said the company, in 2016, utilised 67 per cent of their allocation and upped it to 77 per cent in 2017, outperforming most of the local manufacturing companies, adding that the company's employment rate has grown from 111 in 2016 to 113 in 2018 with 80 per cent of the employees being locals.
He indicated that M Suresh's efforts have not only contributed to Botswana's vision of developing Botswana into a competitive diamond centre, but has also contributed to the country's key development agenda items such as employment creation and poverty eradication.
"M Suresh has been operating in Botswana since 2016 and has proved itself through the difficult times of recession and depressed diamond markets, hence it deserves some accolades considering that some companies closed business while some laid off employees during the same period," he said.
Mr Molale noted that the company's vision to be a fully integrated player across the entire diamond manufacturing supply chain in Botswana gives government assurance that in M Suresh it has found a committed trustworthy partner to accompany in the journey of transforming Botswana in to a world diamond centre.
Source : BOPA