State-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) performed exceptionally well in the past two years, parliament has been told. The minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang said the year 2017 was a very good year for ODC.
The company sold 3.4million carats of rough diamonds worth about US$ 566 million compared to 3 million that was sold for about US$480 million in 2016 representing an increase of 18%. “In 2015 ODC sold 3.2million carats of rough diamonds for about US$ 300 million, 2017 is their best year by far since its establishment in 2013.”
The minister said Botswana remains the second largest diamond producer by value. The years 2016 and 2017 have experienced a positive demand of rough diamonds as depicted by the supply for both years and we hope the trend will continue in 2018 and beyond.
“De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (DBGSS) has supplied the local diamond manufacturing industry with diamonds worth about US$760 million against an expected US$800 million, a 4% increase from the 2016 supply which was worth about US$733million.”
He said Boteti Mining Company achieved only six sales in 2017 because of lower production compared to the normal ten sales per year. In 2015 the mine did exceptionally well by recovering the 2nd largest diamond ever in the mining history. The diamond weighed 1111 carats (which is the size of a tennis ball). The diamond which was named Lesedi Larona was sold in September 2017 and fetched about US$ 53million.
On the other hand, Kebonang said sales for rough diamonds continued to improve during 2017, and this has increased the investors’ confidence in the diamonds industry.
Lerala Mine started production in April 2016 producing 70 100 carats and went into provisional liquidation in June 2017 as a result of shareholders failing to raise capital for operations to continue running. It went into final liquidation in September 2017. Karowe mine on the other hand, continues to perform well in its operations with a production of 249,808 carats in 2017 after finishing their processing plant upgrades that has optimised diamond recoveries for large stones. Debswana Diamond Company continued to perform well producing 22.6 million carats in 2017 due to favorable dollar/carrat ($/carat ($143/carrat vs $133/carrat)). It was also augmented by favorable sales of about 2 million carats increase from 2016. Damtshaa mine resumed production during the fourth quarter of 2017, it is planned to produce 246 000 carats by the beginning of 2018.