De Beers, Botswana Sales Deal Delayed Again
De Beers and the Botswana government have extended their current supply contract by another year, meaning the current terms will remain in place until June 2023.
“Following further positive progress towards a new agreement being made in the first half of 2022, the two parties have agreed to the one-year extension to enable the finalization of the ongoing discussions,” De Beers said Wednesday.
The parties have already deferred the rollout of a new deal twice because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The agreement was originally due to expire at the end of 2020, but travel restrictions hampered negotiations. In December 2020, they announced a 12-month extension, and then pushed it back again by six months. It is unclear what has caused the continued delay.
While De Beers has remained silent on the details of the new arrangement, sightholders and other market sources expect it will involve more rough staying in Botswana for manufacturing. The previous deal, which began in 2011, saw De Beers move its sales and aggregation operations from London to Gaborone.
Diamond mining in the country takes place through Debswana, which De Beers and the government own as a 50:50 joint venture.
This week, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi visited Belgium, where he met with directors of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and other industry members.
Image: Rough and polished diamonds at De Beers’ Global Sightholder Sales operation in Gaborone, Botswana. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)