Ongoing diamond production and sales agreement negotiations between De Beers Group and Botswana government remain confidential, says CEO, Bruce Cleaver.
Cleaver was speaking during a media briefing on the sidelines of this year’s diamond conference. He said disclosure would only be made once the two parties had signed all the agreed terms. Cleaver expressed optimism that the negotiating parties, comprising the De Beers executive team and senior government representatives, would reach a common ground that would be fair to both parties.
Cleaver said De Beers Group had long term programmes aimed at boosting diamond beneficiation. He said the company was alive to the fact that the diamond industry depended on global economic growth to thrive. He said the recently introduced lab-grown diamonds were only a small part of the business as the focus was more on natural diamonds. Cleaver praised Debswana for executing its projects diligently to deliver the diamond future.
He encouraged the company to pay more attention to the non-diamond businesses with the potential to flourish in spite of challenges. Debswana’s Cut 3 project, he said, was a meaningful expansion which requires a detailed study. He said work was underway to correct its standards. Quizzed on the appointment of a substantive CEO for Debswana, Cleaver said proper processes, which were confidential, would be followed to fill the post rendered vacant by the passing of Albert Milton.
Cleaver’s sentiments on the confidentiality of the negotiations were shared by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mmetla Masire, who said although certain aspects of the agreement might remain confidential even after signing, it would be structured in such a way that it was open and fair to all parties. Masire said it was important to consider the government’s best interests, the global market and the diamond mining giant to grow diamond beneficiation.
For his part, De Beers Group Botswana Resident Director, Neo Moroka confirmed that the details of the negotiations were confined to the two parties and were just awaiting approval.
He applauded Debswana for pushing the Economic Diversification Drive with its more than 50 companies through its citizen economic empowerment initiative.
The conference, regarded as one of the few diamond-specific forums on the African continent, brings together key industry stakeholders to promote and strengthen cooperation.