Botswana: De Beers, Botswana Negotiations Confidential

Gaborone — Ongoing diamond production and sales agreement negotiations between De Beers Group and Botswana government remain confidential, says Mr Bruce Cleaver.

Mr Cleaver, who is the company's chief executive officer, was speaking during a media briefing on the sidelines of this year's diamond conference.

He said a disclosure would only be made once the two parties had signed all the agreed terms.

The CEO expressed optimism that the negotiating parties, comprising the De Beers executive team and senior government representatives, would reach common ground that would be fair to both parties.

His sentiments were shared by permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mr Mmetla Masire, who said although certain aspects of the agreement might remain confidential even after signing, it would be structured in such a way that it was open and fair to all parties.

Mr Masire said it was important to consider what was in the best interest of government, the global market and the diamond mining giant in order to grow diamond beneficiation.

For his part, De Beers Group Botswana resident director, Mr Neo Moroka confirmed that negotiations details were confined to the two parties and just waiting for approval.

He applauded Debswana for pushing the Economic Diversification Drive with its more than 50 companies through its citizen economic empowerment initiative.

Mr Cleaver said De Beers Group had long term programmes aimed at boosting diamond beneficiation.

He said the company was alive to the fact that the diamond industry depended on global economic growth to thrive.

He said the recently introduced lab grown diamonds were only a small part of the business as the focus was more on natural diamonds.

Mr Cleaver praised Debswana for executing its projects diligently to deliver the diamond future.

He encouraged the company to pay more attention to the non-diamond businesses which had the potential to flourish though challenging.

Debswana's Cut 3 project, he said, was a meaningful expansion which required a detailed study.

He said work was underway to correct its standards.

Quizzed on the appointment of a substantive CEO for Debswana, Mr Cleaver said proper processes, which were confidential, would be followed to fill the post rendered vacant by the passing of Mr Albert Milton.

The conference, regarded as one of the few diamond specific forums on the African continent, brings together key industry stakeholders to promote and strengthen cooperation.

Source: BOPA

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