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Botswana Flags Synthetic Gem Threat Ahead of $6 Billion Diamond Project Launch

Gaborone, May 29 (Reuters)— Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has warned that synthetic gems pose a significant threat to the country’s economic stability as the government prepares to launch a $6 billion project to extend the lifespan of its flagship Jwaneng diamond mine.

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The natural diamond market has been under pressure due to increasing consumer demand for cheaper lab-grown diamonds and global economic volatility over the past two years.

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President Masisi is set to attend the JCK Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest jewelry trade event, to promote Botswana as a leading producer of ethically and responsibly sourced diamonds. This effort aims to safeguard Botswana’s market share in natural diamonds. According to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, Botswana produced 20% of the world’s total rough diamonds in 2022, second only to Russia. However, Botswana remains the world’s top diamond producer by value.

Diamonds are crucial to Botswana’s economy, contributing up to 40% of government revenue, 75% of foreign exchange earnings, and a third of national output.

“If lab-grown diamonds take our space, then you and I are finished,” Masisi stated before departing for the United States. He pledged to wage “a peaceful assault against lab-grown diamonds” to reassure partners and reduce the appeal of synthetic gems.

In partnership with De Beers, which is set to be spun off from parent company Anglo American, Botswana plans to launch the first phase of the Jwaneng project on June 28. This phase, costing $1 billion, will create a drilling platform for comprehensive sampling of diamond-bearing rock and develop essential infrastructure for future stages. The project aims to extend the mine’s lifespan from 2032 to 2054.

Jwaneng, operational since 1982, produces an average of 11 million carats annually and employs 2,100 permanent employees and 3,200 contractors.

At the Las Vegas show, President Masisi will also lobby against a proposal by the Group of Seven (G7) countries to route all diamonds entering the bloc through Antwerp, Belgium, for certification. This move is part of sanctions on Russian diamonds following the invasion of Ukraine. The United States, a key G7 member, consumes around 40% of the world’s diamonds and is pushing for these certification measures.

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Alice
Alice
Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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