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Botswana flags artificial gem menace forward of $6 bln diamond venture launch

(In paragraph 11, corrects nation to Belgium from the Netherlands)

GABORONE, Might 29 (Reuters) – Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday known as artificial gems a menace to the nation’s financial lifeblood, as the federal government readies to launch a $6 billion venture to increase the lifetime of its flagship Jwaneng diamond mine.

The pure diamond market has struggled prior to now two years because of rising client demand for cheaper lab-grown diamonds, coupled with international macroeconomic volatility.

Masisi will take part this week on the JCK Present in Las Vegas, thought of the world’s largest jewelry commerce occasion, to advertise Botswana as a number one producer of ethically and responsibly sourced diamonds because the nation appears to safeguard its market share for pure diamonds.

In response to business watchdog Kimberley Course of Certification Scheme knowledge, Botswana produced 20% of the world’s complete tough diamonds in 2022, behind Russia. The southern African nation is, nonetheless, the world’s high diamond producer by worth.

The gems contribute as much as 40% of presidency income, 75% of its overseas trade earnings and a 3rd of nationwide output.

“If lab grown diamonds take our area, then you definately and I are completed,” Masisi instructed reporters as he departed for the USA.

He added he would wage “a peaceable assault towards lab grown diamonds, to present confidence to our companions and dampen any attraction to lab growns.”

Botswana and its accomplice De Beers, set to be spun off by mother or father firm Anglo American, plan to launch the primary part of a $6 billion venture on June 28 to increase the Jwaneng mine’s lifespan from the present 2032 horizon to 2054.

The primary part, anticipated to value $1 billion, will set up a drilling platform to make complete sampling of diamond-bearing rock simpler. It’ll additionally develop important infrastructure to assist additional levels of the venture.

Jwaneng, in operation since 1982, produces a mean 11 million carats per yr, using 2,100 everlasting workers and 3200 contractors.

On the present, Masisi additionally plans to foyer the USA towards plans by the Group of Seven (G7) international locations to make sure all diamonds coming into the bloc cross first by means of Antwerp in Belgium for certification.

The U.S., which consumes round 40% of the world’s diamonds, is a number one member of the G7 bloc pushing for certification as a part of sanctions imposed on diamonds from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. (Reporting by Brian Benza; Modifying by Nelson Banya and Sharon Singleton)

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Printed: 30 Might 2024, 02:05 AM IST

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