GABORONE - Botswana government and De Beers on Friday signed a 10-year agreement that will see Diamond Trading Company International (DTCI) relocating to Botswana.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Gaborone the government chief negotiator and Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr Eric Molale said DTCI will relocate its sights and sales operation such as professionals, equipment's and technology from London to Gaborone.
The agreement, which backdates to January 1 is the longest sales contract ever agreed between the two partners, he said.
"From its new base in Botswana, the DTCI will aggregate production from De Beers's operations worldwide and sell internationally," he said.
He said DTC-Botswana will continue to sort and value Debswana's production before selling it to DTCI, adding that DTCI will continue to support the local cutting and polishing industry.
He added that DTCI will increase its commitment by making more diamonds available for manufacturing businesses in Botswana from $550 million per year to $800 million per year by 2014.
"In addition, the Botswana government will for the first time be entitled to purchase from DTCB and independently sell 10 per cent growing to 15 per cent over four years of Debswana's production."
For his part, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Ponatshego Kedikilwe said it has always been government's aim to have diamonds processed, sorted, marketed and sold locally.
With this agreement, he said the government is at the dawn of realising long standing vision of seeing much of the value and diamond chain activities as possible taking place in this country.
Mr Kedikilwe said diamonds are the country's sole world class resource, as such government has strategic obligation to maximize creation and realization of resources in the country.
Under the agreement, he said De Beers customers would have an opportunity to purchase their rough diamonds from Gaborone and initiate the much needed critical mass for secondary diamond trading in Gaborone.
"This agreement will give us direct access to market which we believe should amongst others things facilitate the development of the downstream diamond industry in Botswana," he said.
De Beers Group chairperson Mr. Nicky Oppenheimer said his company and Botswana have built a partnership that has withstood the unpredictability of a rapid changing world.
He said with this agreement, De Beers cements its commitment to be the driving force behind Botswana's emergence as a world leading trading and manufacturing centre. BOPA