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The Botswana government says the value of rough diamonds supplied to local cutting and polishing firms dropped by nearly half in 2015 due to subdued local production and reduced demand in the global market.
Addressing parliament on the progress of local diamond beneficiation on Thursday, Minerals, Energy and Water Resources minister Kitso Mokaila said downstream industries of the diamond mining business, cutting and polishing firms had not been spared from the ripple effects of problems in the global commodity markets.
Mokaila said the value of rough diamonds supplied to the local cutting and polishing industry dropped by nearly half from the $936.36-million recorded in 2014 to US$502.16 million in 2015.
Two out of 21 companies that were operating in Gaborone at the beginning of 2015 had closed shop by year-end due to viability problems.
“Therefore, there are only 19 operational diamonds cutting and polishing companies operating in Botswana at the moment and they employ around 2 000 people,” said Mokaila.
He said despite the downturn in the commodity markets, the diamond cutting and polishing industry would soon stabilise and return to profitability.
All local cutting and polishing concerns have rough diamond supply contracts with De Beers. (Source: African News Agency, Miningweekly)