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Rough diamond industry needs one approach to valuation – KP chair

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Kimberley Protocol (KP) chairperson Ahmed Bin Sulayem has called for a consensual approach to determining a set of criteria to create a universal methodology for the valuation of rough diamonds.

Speaking at the opening of the second in a series of three Rough Diamond Valuation workshop-style forums, in Dubai, he said that adopting the right methodology for a standardised approach to creating a process, which will serve all areas of the rough diamond industry, from large corporations to artisanal miners, is complex.

“What we’ve achieved so far, however, indicates a willingness on the part of all diamond industry professionals to embrace the concept of a set of rough diamond valuation protocols,” he added.

Existing methods vary from country to country with some using price books and lists based on valuators’ individual categorisation of rough diamonds using references to colour, clarity, carat and cut (4 Cs). The difference in value perspective, between large corporations and smaller artisanal miners, resounded clearly from the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) representative, who outlined the fundamental needs of the smaller producers, whose requirement for immediate income often overshadowed their negotiation skills for fair market value.A recognised valuation mechanism to determine real value, which could be applied to all operators, would be welcomed broadly by the DDI.

Antwerp World Diamond Centre president Stephane Fischler welcomed the opportunity created by Sulayem to focus on a critical aspect supporting the mission of the KP and bringing this series of seminars to Antwerp. “Ensuring proper return on the export of diamonds, especially so for the most challenged KP member countries, the alluvial producers, is key to the sustainability of our common efforts.

“The discussions have produced interesting avenues, all converging towards the need of building expertise and capacity whilst ensuring solid governance processes,” she noted.

The workshop also identified a range of methods that could be adopted focusing in detail on reverse engineering based on the retail price of polished diamonds.
Reverse engineering is a method where the valuator will base his decision on the forecast of polished output of the stone applying a certain percentage of fixed costs, generally 15 percent including polishing and certain margins.

Tenders and auction experts gave their opinion about price fluctuations and market forces, as well as sighting seasonal influences, all having an impact on final valuations.Mining Weekly

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Botswana Railways hit by fuel theft

The MidweekSun Admin

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Botswana Railways CEO, Louis Makwinja

Botswana Railways lost fuel business due to continuous incidents of stolen fuel from the tanks and delays mainly at Mafikeng, in the north Western side of South Africa.

Botswana Railways Chief Executive Officer Leonard Makwinja said, during 2017/2018, their biggest failure was in this area. “Our biggest failure in this aspect was on imports, transporting of fuel from South Africa proved to be a challenge.

There have been incidents of fuel loss on tankers, sometimes a delay in Mafikeng when trains changed and when it arrives in Botswana the tank would be half empty, “said Makwinja. He said this was worsened by allegations that road transportation was cheaper. Currently, they have employed a fuel consultant to look into the whole fuel transportation. “We believe a solution will be found soon.”

The BR Chief explained they heavily rely on the relationship with Transnet to successfully execute its freight mandate. Most of the imports through rail come from South Africa and the main export through rail which is salt and soda ash is transported from Botash to Mafikeng. “Going onwards we have to depend on Transnet for connections to the respective destinations. Our strategic plan going forward is to improve our services to the oil companies so that we are more reliable, timely and profitable.”

During the period, Makwinja said they had to focus on cost containment. The main cost drivers are staff cost, fuel and maintenance of the locomotives. In his statement on Botswana Railways 2018 annual report, Makwinja said the organization’s performance was subdued due to lack of capacity to meet the demand. “In terms of tonnage, our target was 2 million tons but we only achieved 1, 5 million tons. This adverse variance can be attributed to a number of factors including lack of sufficient locomotives and practicing conservative business initiatives and marketing,” he said.

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Calls to improve crop yields with technology

Keikantse Lesemela

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Greenhouse Technologies managing director, Amanda Masire has urged entrepreneurs to venture into agriculture as it is a lucrative business and more beneficial to the national economic development, despite climate change challenges.

Speaking to Business Trends, Masire said there is a need for more training and knowledge on modern agriculture technologies for the country to have sustainable food production. “I am passionate about agriculture and food production. I want to help my country to produce food for itself and reduce dependency on imports. I have learnt that despite all the challenges of climate change, we can still produce our own food through the use of modern technologies,” said Masire.

Masire is an agri-business developer, specializing in horticulture, beekeeping and fish farming. She currently operates Greenhouse Farmers Academy offering training and mentorship on horticulture farming. “Agriculture is the most lucrative business that young people should be looking into. Currently, we depend much on South Africa. We should rise up and develop the sector because as Batswana we have rich land that we are not utilising.” Her services include horticulture starter kit, which includes business plans, lessons, fertilisers and all equipments necessary for a particular horticulture project.

She is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Food Security to develop the ISPAAD Program. She said government would embrace modern farming technologies to improve food production. “Most Batswana have lands which they are currently not ploughing because of climate change conditions while the government gives out fertilizers and seeds every year to subsistence farmers yet there is no yield. I have come up with solutions, which include testing soil and supplying lime treatment to reduce acidity. This will help improve crop yield when adopted with other technologies,” she said.

Speaking during Stanbic Lionness Lean In Africa, Masire said with the challenges in the agriculture sector, Batswana should stop looking much into the problems and getting discouraged but should rather think of solutions. “Government is trying but we individuals also need to be innovative and assist government in improving food security. Young people should take opportunity of the agri-business market and reduce unemployment,” said Masire.

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