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Orapa region mines pick De Beers’ output

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Planned production increase at Debswana’s mines in the Orapa region – Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa has pushed up De Beers’ rough diamonds output for the last quarter of 2018, the group’s latest report has indicated.

De Beers’ latest production report shows that rough diamond production increased 12 percent to 9.1 million carats in the last quarter of 2018. The increase is compared to 8.6 million carats recorded in the third quarter and 8.9 million carats in the second and 8.4 million carats in the first quarter.

Despite the good performances by Orapa mines, De Beers missed its production target of 35 to 36 million carats for 2018, as the total production for the year landed at 35.3 million carats. Other mines that contributed to production include Jwaneng, Namibia’s Namdeb Holdings, South Africa’s De Beers consolidated mines and Canada’s Gahcho Kué.

On the other hand, the full year rough diamond sales volumes were four per cent lower at 33.7 million carats compared with 35.1 million carats in 2017.Meanwhile, the 2019 production guidance for De Beers is 31 to 33 million carats, subject to trading conditions. “The lower production is driven by the process of exiting from the Venetia open pit with the underground becoming the principal source of ore from 2023.

“Associated with this, an increased proportion of production in 2019 is expected to come from De Beers Group’s joint venture partners, a proportion of which only generate a trading margin, which is lower than the mining margin generated from own mined production,” said De Beers’ latest production report.

Meanwhile, local analyst Econsult’s economic review for the fourth quarter 2018 has observed that the global diamond market has been performing reasonably well in overall terms, but with stress in particular segments that may reflect structural change and potential volatility going forward.

Econsult however bemoaned that the price increase for rough diamond has squeezed profit margins for dealers and cutters, as polished prices have not increased commensurately.
“The problem has been particularly acute for small, low value diamonds, perhaps due in part to pressure from increasing supplies of synthetic diamonds,” said Econsult.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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