Gaborone: No date has yet been set for the moving of diamond aggregation from the Diamond Trading Company International (DTCI) in London to Gaborone. Aggregation could have long relocated to Gaborone but was delayed by the collapse in diamond prices on the market due to the global economic downturn.
Last year, DTCI Managing Director Varda Shine reiterated De Beers’ stance on aggregation to move to Botswana this year, saying aggregation of De Beers’ diamonds is therefore likely to be done in Botswana in the near future as negotiations to relocate the process have resumed following improvement of the diamond market.
'We are moving in line with Government aspirations to make Botswana a diamond centre. Aggregation will add value to the economy and create employment opportunities as well as result in skills transfer,' said Shine in a previous interview.
Shine said there are possibilities that aggregation will be relocated to DTC Botswana next year once all outstanding issues have been resolved. 'The past 12 months have been the worst ever. We did not know if any diamonds would be sold therefore aggregation moved from a top priority, but we are certain the move will happen before the end of 2010.'
However, when quizzed on the current state, all De Beers could say last week was 'good progress is being made on the move of Aggregation from London to Botswana, with the project plan remaining on track. We look forward to relocating this important activity to Botswana as soon as possible.'
Aggregation is the process where diamonds from all De Beers’ mines in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Canada are matched and the process is currently being done at the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London. 'The aggregation process will be carried out in the state-of-the-art DTC Botswana building, which is the most advanced diamond sorting and handling facility in the world. This was established by De Beers at a cost of over US$80m and will provide excellent facilities for aggregation,' De Beers said in an emailed statement.
About 50 jobs will be created through the relocation of aggregation to Botswana. It has been explained that aggregation is more about adding value to the more than $6 billion industry. DTCI has 78 sight holders worldwide and therefore the successful process of aggregating De Beers’s diamonds in the country would promote Botswana as an ideal investment destination.
De Beers first unveiled plans to set up DTC Botswana in 2006 but has not been ready to move until now.
The company decided to move operations as part of a programme to create more wealth for Botswana, where most of its diamonds are mined. 'The relocation of aggregation from London to Botswana will mean that the entire De Beers Family of Companies global rough diamond production is centered around Gaborone. More of the world's share of rough diamonds will flow through Botswana and the country will become responsible for creating the most sought after product in the rough diamond industry - the DTC Sight box.'