Botswana plays hardball with key mining partner amid attempts to capture more diamond revenue
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has warned diamond miner De Beers that the country might end its 50-year partnership in June unless it receives a larger share of the output, report the FT’s Harry Dempsey and Joseph Cotterill. Botswana is entitled to 25% of production, but Masisi is demanding more from industry, which accounts for around a third of GDP.
Recently, Botswana’s government invested an undisclosed sum for a 24% stake in Belgian diamond processor HB Antwerp, which aims to increase transparency in the diamond supply chain and is seen as a challenge to De Beers. Additionally, the sanctioning of Russia’s diamond industry, the world’s largest, has apparently strengthened the government’s position in negotiations.
De Beers says it wants to continue the partnership and pointed to efforts to set up local cutting and polishing facilities that employed nearly 4,000 people by the end of 2022. For Botswana, quitting Da Beers would be costly and time-consuming but its tough stance on the multinational reflects political realities in the run-up to next year’s elections.