De Beers to move aggregation to Botswana
The new managing director of De Beers, Gareth Penny, says his company plans to relocate its international diamond aggregation business from London, U.K., to a new headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, by the end of 2009 at a cost of US$80 to $90 million.
In the new system, De Beers will sort its production to full “presentation” sorting status in each country where it operates. Those diamonds will then be sent to Gaborone where like diamonds will be “aggregated” to provide overall consistency for clients.
Negotiations with the governments of various Southern African countries are still underway. One key priority will be flexibility, such as in granting work permits to DTC International employees. The airport in Gaborone will have to be upgraded, as it currently has no direct international flights from outside Africa.
Penny says this development will give huge credibility to Botswana as a hub for the diamond business. “There is clearly going to be job creation; there will be general economic growth and infrastructure development.”
Botswana is the largest miner of diamonds, producing 26% of the worlds’ diamonds. In 2005 De Beers produced 49.0 million carats, of which 31.9 million carats came from the four diamond mines in Botswana through its consortium with Debswana.