Saturday, July 13, 2024

De Beers, Botswana Govt highlight sustainable development at diamond summit

Under the theme Sustainability: People, Product and Planet, the Summit brings together leaders from the Botswana government, the country’s diamond sector and the wider international diamond industry to discuss the critical role that natural diamonds play in driving sustainable development in producing countries. It also aims to issue a call to action for the industry to unite around sustainability priorities for mutual benefit.

In his keynote address, His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, noted that in a world of evolving consumer attitudes, current challenging trading conditions and the ever-changing complexities of diamond mining, sustainability is the critical point of congruence for the diamond industry. He also highlighted the progress Botswana has made in promoting sustainable economic development through prudent natural resource management for the benefit of its people, its natural environment and its diamonds.

Botswana’s Minister of Minerals and Energy, the Honourable Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, also delivered an opening address in which he said: “The natural diamond industry has existed for over 100 years. Throughout its history, the industry has seen many changes. From major technological advances that have transformed productivity and supported the development of the value chain, to the consolidation of industry players and diamond centres, the sector has evolved and continued to grow and expand to become a leading driver of development in all producing countries and across the value chain. The industry has thrived for decades, weathering many global challenges that have seen other industries and large corporations fail.

“Our diamonds are not just gems; they are the foundation upon which the hope and promise of our economies have been built. They are the engine through which our aspirations for greater prosperity, more diversified economies, human development and a fairer and more equitable future can be realised. But this potential can only be fully realised if we embrace a new paradigm, one that puts sustainability at its core.

In his welcome address, De Beers Group CEO Al Cook addressed the macro-economic landscape and its impact on the industry, while expressing optimism for the future of natural diamonds given the sector’s strong fundamentals. These foundations included favourable long-term supply and demand dynamics underpinned by the emerging middle classes in China and India; Botswana’s focus on building a knowledge-based economy to support diamond innovation and productivity, which will be felt across the industry; and the transformative new partnership between Botswana and De Beers, which provides long-term stability for the industry while acting as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation in Botswana.

“The new 10-year sales agreement between Government and De Beers for Debswana’s rough diamond production until 2033, and the 25-year extension of Debswana’s mining licences until 2054, represents a new partnership for a new era. It is a transformational agreement that will see Botswana match the share of Debswana’s diamonds it sells to the market, enable De Beers’ long-term capital investment in Debswana’s expansion through projects such as the Jwaneng underground transition, and enable the potential creation of tens of thousands of new jobs in Botswana, both within the diamond economy and in emerging sectors outside of it,” he said.

“Our partnership with Botswana, which has lasted for more than 50 years, has not stood still. It has evolved and our latest agreement with the government will support the growth of Botswana and the diamond industry for decades to come.”

The Natural Diamond Summit runs until Wednesday 15 November. It includes panel discussions with industry leaders and tours for delegates to experience Botswana’s diamond sector first-hand, including visits to cutting and polishing factories and the world’s most valuable diamond mine, Jwaneng. Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit conservation areas managed by De Beers and some of Botswana’s world-class tourism destinations.

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