There were two interesting articles from overseas this week
about the future of Botswana’s diamonds. The
first has the vice president of Botswana talking about dealing directly
with Indian manufacturers, and notes:
The Botswana government also showed
interest in diversifying the sellers of its diamonds, rather than going through
a single company as they saw that De Beers was unable to take all the diamonds
mined due to a decline in demand during the global economic slowdown.
I think it was pretty clear that, during the slowdown, De
Beers was willing to sell diamonds to anyone that was interested. Yet, legal
restrictions may have prevented it from doing so – another indication that the
company is very much a prisoner of its history. But you can’t blame Botswana for
wanting more than, as they used to say, a single channel.
Then there was this
article in the Botswana Gazette:
The Oppenheimers’ Project Journey
proposal urges the government to give up its direct control over the Debswana
mining company; in return Botswana would gain joint control of De Beers.
The newspaper notes that the government has been urged to
reject that proposal, since Debswana is more valuable currently than De Beers.
Some background is needed here: This year, De Beers and Botswana’s sales agreement is again being renegotiated. And once again, it seems some of those
negotiations are being conducted publicly.
All these articles make pretty clear, De Beers will stay in the picture in some form. But from what I am hearing, we will once again see changes this
time around. Very worth watching …