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Botswana’s Warning Shot to Diamond Miner De Beers Over their Five-decade Partnership

The diamond producer may not renew a five-decade sales agreement with De Beers if the firm doesn’t offer a larger share of rough diamonds to the state’s gem trading company, Okavango Diamond Company. The move comes after the southern Africa nation acquired last month a 24% stake in Belgian diamond processing firm HB Antwerp for an undisclosed sum. Analysts saw this deal as a way for Botswana to loosen the Anglo American-owned miner’s grip on its diamond sector, which is a major source of employment and tax revenue for the country. De Beers and Botswana jointly own Debswana, which mines almost all of the rough gems in the country — the world’s second-largest diamond producing nation after Russia. The partnership has helped Botswana become one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, while supplying De Beers 75% of Debswana’s rough diamonds, which are then sorted and sold to sightholders around the world. Debswana’s diamond sales hit a record $4.6 billion in 2022, compared to $3.4 billion in 2021.