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Botswana Creates Okavango Diamond Trading Co.

Mar 12, 2012 5:33 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... 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 the terms of a 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  the open market from  Debswana's average  $3 billion-a-year supply, according to Mmegi.

The country's Minister 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  advanced stages of negotiation 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.

As of February, De Beers still held 2.2 million carats belonging to the government out of Debswana's 22 million carat production in 2011, Mmegi reported.
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