Botswana: Banabotlhe Clarifies 'Waste Bin' Diamond Find

Jwaneng — Senior ore processing manager for Debswana Jwaneng Mine, Mr Kgolagano Banabotlhe, has refuted reports that the company's largest diamond was discovered in a 'rubbish bin'.

Speaking during an interview on Thursday, Mr Banabotlhe said such reports were likely a result of people having misinterpreted the word 'waste bin' for the ordinarily one used in daily life.

"Just like any other profession, mining has its own jargon that may mean something to the non-mining individuals. When we talk of things like 'waste bins and waste', we do not necessarily mean in the literal sense of the word," he said.

Mr Banabotlhe said the bin that the diamond was recovered in was actually part of a component that diamonds went through in their processing.

"It is just a part of the structure where we process diamonds. When we crash rocks that hold diamonds, the soil, which we often refer to as waste is separated according to size, with the larger pieces going into a container called a bin for further processing later," he said.

Mr Banabotlhe said because of its size, the diamond went into the bin with other larger pieces, while the rest of the smaller diamonds went through to the x-ray machines.

"Normally the 'waste' in the 'bins' is often dislodged manually by the employees because it is in large particles and may block the flow of the processing. It was in that process that the employee recovered the diamond," he said.

Mr Banabotlhe also said the diamond was recovered in the section classified as the Red Area, which was a high security area because of its high concentration of diamonds and due to that fact, employees were always in the company of a security officer, thereby erasing any chances of theft.

"The bin that the diamond was recovered in was sealed as is the normal procedure and they are only opened under the watchful eye of the security personnel and under security cameras. This is one way of the company ensuring that diamonds are secured," he said.

Mr Banabotlhe also cautioned Batswana of talking negative about Botswana diamonds since this might lead to the international community classifying them as dirty.

He said should that happen, the economy would be drastically affected.

"Diamonds are the backbone of our economy and therefore we should be patriotic and consider ourselves stakeholders when we talk about them. My advice to the media fraternity is to always contact our corporate affairs department for any clarity and they will always be willing to help," he said.

On whether the employees would be rewarded for their find, Mr Banabotlhe said that was unlikely.

"Like I said, the red area is an area where we have the highest concentration of diamonds, so employees working on that area are expected to find a diamond anytime. If it was any other area they would likely be rewarded. Although we appreciate their expertise in knowing a diamond when they saw one as well as their honesty in following the right procedure required when an employee finds a diamond, but they were just doing their normal daily job," he said, but without necessarily overruling the possibility of appreciating them in some way.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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