Botswana’s diamond bourse development is on track for completion by May 2012 while a new building is in the works to accommodate demand for office space in the Diamond Technology Park (DTP), according to Rutang Moses, the chief executive of the DTP and SAFDICO Botswana.
Moses tells Rapaport News in the video that the building has been fully leased and will be ready for occupancy from June. “The trading platform will attract local and international producers who want to market their diamonds in Botswana,” Moses said.
The government is planning to launch its own rough diamond sales later this year through the recently formed Okavango Diamond Trading Company. The government is entitled to 11 percent of Debswana’s production in 2012, estimated to be approximately 2.6 million carats of diamonds, to sell independently of De Beers Diamond Trading Company (DTC). However, it remains unclear how or where the sales will take place. Moses said DTP has been in talks with the government to use the bourse but that no decision has been made.
Construction on the bourse building started in September 2011 as the initial phase-two development of the DTP. The building is being developed at an investment of around $3 million (BWP 22 million). SAFDICO owns and manages the DTP.
The three-story building will include a trading area on the first floor covering 500 square meters of space, including 12 viewing rooms. The second and third floor, another 500 square meters each, will consist of office space for three diamond-related service providers.
The DTP was launched in 2009 and phase 1 is currently fully leased with mining companies, brokers, courier providers, Botswana’s Diamond Hub keeping offices there along with three cutting factories.
Recent developments to expand Botswana’s diamond industry, including the introduction of government sales and the planned relocation of DTC sights from London to Gaborone, has spurred interest from diamond companies to establish a presence in Botswana. DTC recently grew its number of Botswana sightholders from 16 to 21 so that five new factories are presently in the works and awaiting government licenses.
Moses noted that there have been consistent inquiries about office space from around the second quarter of 2011 and that plans are being made to accommodate these with a new higher-rise building next to the bourse building.
“We have 12,000 square meters of land available for expansion and we expect to start construction so that occupancy can start around the beginning of 2013,” she said. “Our business model is to grow with the industry and make sure that we are aligned with the government’s aspirations to transform the country into a leading diamond trading center.”