Says diamond dominated mining sector contributes 22% of GDP, 38% of govt revenues, and 80% of forex
Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of Botswana through its handling of every diamonds mined by Debswana, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Speaking at a gala dinner in Gaborone to mark the 50th anniversary of DTCB recently, President Masisi noted that the contribution of diamonds are a significant amount of government revenue that generate over 80 percent of Botswana’s foreign exchange earnings.
“The mining sector, dominated by diamond mining, is one of the most efficient and profitable sectors in Botswana,” the President said.
“It contributes about 22 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 38 percent of government revenues, represents over 80 percent of exports earnings and 23 percent of customs revenues. These are not insignificant figures by any standard.”
880m carats over the years
President Masisi noted that since inception, DTCB or its predecessor the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company (BDVC), has cleaned, sorted and valued all of Debswana’s diamonds, which represent the vast majority of diamonds ever produced in Botswana.
“This represents more than 880 million carats over the years,” he noted. “Practically, DTCB can sort up to 30 million carats per year. However, due to prevailing and unpredictable market conditions, DTCB has been sorting about 23 to 24 million carats annually.
“It is through the provision of these services that enables the much-needed diamond proceeds from the sales to be declared to the Government of Botswana at the end of each sales cycle.”
DTCB is a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of Botswana and the De Beers Group. It commenced operations in 1972 when the Botswana Development Corporation and De Beers formed a partnership that gave birth to BDVC to sort and value Debswana’s production.
Subsequently, BDVC became a wholly owned subsidiary of Debswana in 1977. In 1982, the BDVC building, known as Orapa House, was opened in Gaborone. In 2006, the government and De Beers signed an agreement to incorporate (DTCB) to take over the sorting and valuing operations of BDVC.
“Through this agreement, DTCB became a catalyst for beneficiation in Botswana by supplying a specified portion of Debswana’s production directly to the local cutting and polishing companies,” President Masisi noted.
Okavango Diamond Company
“DTCB then officially commenced its operations in 2008 to continue sorting and valuing Debswana’s diamond production. To this day, DTCB cleans, sorts and values all diamonds from Debswana and employs various technologies to do so.
“Thereafter, it sells the diamonds to its two customers, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) and De Beers Global Sightholder Sales. DTCB has developed and evolved to become the world’s largest and most sophisticated rough diamond sorting and valuing operation.”