- Notes how Debswana is famed for transforming Botswana from being one of the 10 poorest countries in the world in 1966 to becoming an upper middle-income economy today
Against the overglow of De Beers and the Government of Botswana reaching a new sales agreement after numerous extensions of the current contract and much speculation about the future of their 54-year old partnership, the MD of Debswana Diamond Company, Andrew Motsomi, has hailed the partnership as a significant driver of the country’s economy.
Speaking at the ongoing US-Africa Business Summit in Gaborone, Motsomi said Debswana is famed for turning around Botswana’s fortunes from being one of the 10 poorest countries in the world in 1966 to becoming an upper middle-income economy today.
Between 22m and 24m carats per year
“Diamond revenues contribute 85 percent of national foreign exchange earnings, one-third of government revenue, and one-fifth of GDP,” he pointed out. “We produce between 22 million and 24 million carats per annum.
“The production from all our mines is sold to De Beers and Okavango Diamond Company, the latter a 100 percent government-owned company dedicated to selling and marketing rough diamonds. “Debswana is the biggest supplier of rough diamonds to the De Beers Group. We are the second largest employer in Botswana after government.”
Mining together for the next 25 years
Extolling the public-private partnership between De Beers and Botswana as one of the most successful global partnerships, Motsomi noted that the recently signed agreement will see the two mining together for the next 25 years
He explained that the mining company operates four diamond mines in Botswana, its best known being Orapa and Jwaneng mines, the latter being the world’s largest diamond mine by value. Emphasising Debswana’s commitment to employing world-class technology and the best methods of mining, Motsomi noted that the diamond mining company has embarked on a journey to transform into a future smart-connected mining business.
Transition to green energy
“This involves transforming into a data-driven mining business using artificial intelligence and data analytics, looking at reducing our environmental footprint by pursuing de-carbonisation and transition to green energy, as well as continuing to pursue our Zero Harm goals by employing automation responsibly,” he said.
Motsomi asserted that by investing in socio-economic development projects around its host communities and nationally, Debswana ensures that it leaves no one behind. He noted that the company has also invested significantly in its employees and safety programmes which have helped it reach the target of zero fatal incidents for the past five years.
Collaboration and partnerships
Noting the government’s efforts to diversify away from heavy reliance on mining, particularly diamonds, the Debswana MD called for collaboration and partnerships on all fronts to support the government’s investment in a knowledge-based economy and adoption of innovation in mining.
Pledging Debswana’s support in this regard, Motsomi stated: “One such way is through our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) programme, termed Building Forever, which is aligned to our country’s National Vision 2036, National Development Plans, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “Some of our focus areas are carbon neutrality, biodiversity, job creation, education and skills for the future, community health and safety, as well as supporting women, girls and people living with disabilities.”