Botswana president insists on bigger share of diamonds from De Beers venture (Reuters – May 25, 2023)

GABORONE, May 25 (Reuters) – Botswana will not back down on demands for a bigger share of rough diamonds from its joint venture with De Beers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Thursday, upping the stakes as talks for a new sales deal appear to be stalling.

Botswana and De Beers mine the precious stones through their equally owned, 54-year-old mining venture, Debswana Diamond Co. The current diamond sales deal, in place since 2011, has been extended three times since 2020 but is set to expire next month.

De Beers, a unit of Anglo American Plc (AAL.L), gets 75% of Debswana’s production, which was 24 million carats in 2022. The balance is sold to state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, a vehicle established in 2011 as Botswana began moves to independently sell some gems outside of the De Beers system.

Masisi, who has been Botswana’s president since 2018 and will seek re-election in next year’s elections, now wants Botswana to sell more of its diamonds outside the De Beers channel.

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