Botswana created the Okavango Diamond Trading Company, a private diamond firm that will buy, market and sell 10 to 15 percent of Debswana’s production, which the country is entitled to do according to terms of the recent marketing agreement signed with De Beers in 2011.
The new company expects to auction rough diamonds worth $300 million to $350 million per year on to the open market from Debswana’s average of $3 billion-a-year supply, according to Mmegi.
The country’s Minster of Minerals, Energy and Water resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, said that the government has appointed an interim board of directors and identified a potential chief executive to set up the company.
The new three-story diamond trading offices will feature sorting and viewing rooms, management offices, a laboratory, diamond equipment and internal security systems. The government is currently in the advanced stages of negotiations with Safdico, the proprietors of the new $2.5 million (BWP 18 million) facility under construction at the diamond trading platform.
Under the terms of the De Beers agreement, the government will buy 10 percent of Debswana’s production and sell it through open auctions outside the traditional Diamond Trading Company framework for the next 10 years. The government’s share of production will increase to 15 percent over a four year period.