Thursday, September 20, 2012

New chapter as diamond bourse sets up

The value addition of the diamond industry in Botswana took yet another leap yesterday with the announcement that a state of the art building housing a trade exchange for the precious stones is now complete.

Yesterday, Diamond Technology Park (DTP) chief executive officer, Rutang Moses said an occupational certificate for the building had been issued on August 01, marking a milestone in Botswanas journey to become a centre of global diamond trade. With the bourse's establishment, Botswana now boasts diamond production, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing and finally rough diamond trade, being the majority of activities along the diamond industry value chain.

When fully functional, the bourse will provide a platform for producers, brokers, valuers and traders, with two tenants having already taken up residence in the building.  It is expected that producers such as Firestone Diamonds and Lucara Diamonds will move their auctions to the new high-tech bourse, with buyers jetting in and out to participate in tenders. "This will make Botswana a vibrant market for diamonds," Moses told journalists.

"We are just providing the facility and are hands off in terms of its operation, which will be done by the producers and their stakeholders. "We have established this facility as turnkey and we are talking to different companies in terms of using that tender platform.

"Our strategy is to make sure that the DTP is aligned to diamond industry growth," she said. An official launch of the new building is expected as soon as full operations by its tenants commence. Designed after architectural benchmarking in Israel, Belgium and South Africa, Moses said the bourse would provide privacy for those using it for office space and those holding their tenders there.
 At present in Botswana, only Firestone Diamonds and Lucara Diamonds are holding diamond auctions outside of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) system owned and controlled by De Beers.   Debswana, the country's biggest diamond producer, auctions its stones through the DTC system, being a De Beers subsidiary, although a window exists for government to sell 10 percent of Debswana production independent of the DTC system.

It is expected that government will auction its allocation of Debswana production through the new bourse. Moses said besides the bourse, the DTP was also expanding its office space, utilising the 12,000 square metres left on its plot situated along Airport Road.

"We are building the DTP in stages according to the needs of the industry," she said.  "First was to make sure there was a secure environment, then second was diamond activities provided by the bourse. The expansion of office space is part of the second phase of that strategy." The expansion of the DTP is also in preparation for the higher business activities linked to the relocation of DTC aggregation from London to Gaborone next year.The DTP is a private initiative funded by Safdico, a Diamond Trading Company Botswana sightholder with offices and facilities in Gaborone, Antwerp, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, New York, Tel Aviv and Mauritius.

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