Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pluczenik expands its Botswana operations

International diamond sorting and polishing firm, Pluczenik Botswana, is expanding its operations in Botswana by building a more spacious and sophisticated facility at the Diamond Technology Park in Gaborone.

The Belgian company first set foot in the Botswana diamond industry in 2006 when they opened their sorting facility that was inaugurated by former President Festus Mogae.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the P26 million factory, Pluczenik group CEO Chaim Pluczenik said they will be bringing in state-of-the-art polishing equipment once the factory becomes operational in December this year. He said they will employ 300 people in addition to the 150 already employed by the first factory.

Pluczenik said they will be bringing international experts to supervise and transfer their skills to Batswana. They will continue to source rough diamonds from DTC Botswana and augment their supply by sourcing from overseas in order to help the country in its quest to be a big diamond centre.

"We have been in the diamond industry for over 70 years," Pluczenik said. "We want to continue being a world leader and we hope our expertise in the industry will be of great benefit to the people of Botswana." Officially launching the new factory, the Acting Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe said it was a commendable feat by Pluczenik to invest in the new project.

Kedikilwe, whose substantive post is Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, said through the project, the company has reached another milestone in bettering the lives of Batswana as well as enhancing the diamond industry.

"It is very encouraging to see more companies joining in to turn the country from being a leading rough diamond producer by value into a leading diamond centre. It brings hope for poverty reduction, job creation and overall improvement of the economy," he said. "I can assure you the government will always support projects of this nature."

However, Kedikilwe said despite figures showing signs of recovery from the global recession in the diamond industry and a general consensus of a ray of hope of improvement, it remains uncertain that the industry will reach the pre-recession era.

The Managing Director (MD) of DTC International, Varda Shine, also commended Pluczenik for having been a leading Sightholder of DTC for the past 70 years. She said it is important for diamond firms that come to do business in Botswana to consider appropriate diamond beneficiation programmes so they can enjoy a good working relationship with Batswana.

Shine said DTC has been building fantastic relationships and helping facilitate diamond beneficiation for the country and is hopeful Pluczenik will fully support the efforts.

The new factory was initially intended for opening in 2008, but the project had to be shelved due to uncertainties occasioned by the global economic recession. The Pluczenik Group has operations in Antwerp, Detroit, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tel Aviv and Tokyo.

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