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Gareth Penny Leads Botswana Mine Purchase

May 25, 2017 3:50 AM   By Rapaport News
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Former De Beers CEO Gareth Penny has partnered with a high-end colored-diamond manufacturer to buy Firestone Diamonds’ mining operations in Botswana.

Penny and Diacore Diamond Group — which cut the most expensive polished diamond in history — will potentially buy the business for up to $5.1 million in cash, Firestone said. The main asset involved is the BK11 mine, which Firestone had attempted to sell to Tango Mining until the deal fell through last September due to the bidder’s lack of funding.

Under the deal announced Wednesday, Penny and Diacore will have the option to acquire Firestone’s Botswana business during a 14-month period that starts June 1. This would mean buying both Firestone Diamonds (Botswana), a subsidiary of the miner, and the group’s 90% stake in Monak Ventures, Firestone explained. The buyers will pay $100,000 immediately and a further $5 million when they go through with the purchase. The transaction still needs approval from the Botswana Competition Authority and from the Botswana government.

Penny was CEO of De Beers for five years until his departure in 2010. He is currently the non-executive chairman of Russian metal miner Norilsk Nickel, and chairman of Pangolin Diamonds Corp. Diacore, based in South Africa, manufactured the 59.60-carat Pink Star diamond, which fetched $71.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction last month.
Tags: De Beers, Diacore, Diacore Diamond Group, Firestone Diamonds, Gareth Penny, Rapaport News
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