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Gaborone Seeks Clarity on Future of Diamond Industry

Botswana’s government said there is a risk it will be unable to renew a 10-year sales agreement with De Beers before the end of December, when the current one expires, as the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed negotiations. Leading diamond producer De Beers, part of Anglo American, said it could continue to operate under the existing agreement temporarily in the event of a delay. A deal is necessary for the Debswana Mining Company, jointly held by De Beers and Botswana’s government, as it provides the country with around two-thirds of its foreign exchange and makes up a fifth of its GDP. For De Beers, a deal would provide another 10 years of clarity on the terms of its revenue from the source of 70% of its diamonds and 90% of its sales. Any delay would set back President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s efforts to create jobs in a country with high unemployment by boosting a fledgling diamond polishing and cutting industry.