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Debeers anticipates positive outlook for 2018

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Jwaneng’s first ore from Cut-8 which was processed last year June is expected to become the mine’s main source of ore during 2018, enough to produce up to 91 million carats of diamond. Speaking at the recent Financial Overview for 2017 in Gaborone last week, the Executive Vice President of Global Sightholder Sales at DeBeers, Paul Rowley said the year is for the undertaking as they have set a production target of as high as 36-million carats for 2018. In its 2017 results announcement the Anglo American subsidiary reported a production guidance of 34-million carats to 36-million carats, which compares with 33.45-million carats produced in 2017. “Improving global macroeconomic conditions remain supportive of consumer demand growth for polished diamonds in 2018,” Rowley said, although it noted that the degree of global economic growth would be dependent on a number of factors, including the extent of the positive impact on consumer spending growth from US tax cuts.

The miner reported a two percent improvement in its underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) to $1.44-billion in 2017, despite a lower revenue of $5.8-billion following the one-off industry midstream restocking in 2016. This performance, the company noted, was driven by improved margins, which benefited from lower unit costs, which were supported by higher production and efficiency drives across the business, a strong contribution from Canada, and Element Six, which benefited from a recovery in oil and gas markets. However, this was partly offset by unfavourable exchange rates, and an increasing proportion of waste mining costs being expensed rather than capitalised, owing to an improved strip ratio at Venetia, in South Africa. Total revenue declined by four percent to $5.8-billion, with the average realised rough diamond price decreasing by 13 percent to $162/ct mainly owing to a lower value mix.

This was partly offset by an eight percent increase in consolidated sales volumes to 32.5-million carats. Capital expenditure reduced by 48 percent to $273-million, owing to the completion of major projects, including Gahcho Kué, in Canada, Debmarine Namibia’s new exploration and sampling vessel, the SS Nujoma; and planned lower waste capitalisation at Venetia. In terms of production, most regions registered positive margins of growth; Botswana (Debswana) increased production by 11 percent to 22.7-million carats, with production at Orapa being 28 percent higher, mainly driven by planned increases in plant performance and the ramp-up of Plant 1.

In Namibia (Namdeb Holdings), production increased by 15 percent to 1.8-million carats. At Namdeb’s land operations, production rose by six percent, despite challenging conditions, including grade variability owing to the nature of alluvial deposits, structural cost pressures, and some operations nearing the end of their lives. In South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines increased production by 23 percent to 5.2 million carats, primarily owing to Venetia. Construction continues on the Venetia Underground mine, which is expected to become the mine’s principal source of production during 2023.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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