De Beers-owned Debswana To Shut Diamond Mine On Weak Demand

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GABORONE, Botswana: Debswana Mining Firm, equally owned by De Beers and the Botswana authorities, will shut a diamond mine within the nation as weak demand and buying and selling disruption from the pandemic make the mining of decrease worth diamonds unviable, a union chief informed Reuters on Friday.

Debswana, among the many world’s largest diamond producers, plans to shut its Damtshaa mine in 2021 for a interval of three years, stated Joseph Tsimako, President of the Botswana Mine Employees Union.

“The mine produces decrease high quality diamonds which makes it costly to dig throughout this era when the market is depressed,” Tsimako stated.

The mine is considered one of 4 operated by the corporate and has a mean annual output of 500,000 carats, 2.5% of Debswana’s complete manufacturing. Its stones have a decrease worth than these produced on the firm’s flagship Jwaneng and Orapa mines.

The corporate will even shut for an indefinite interval a processing plant at Orapa Mine, Tsimako stated, including that the union is now discussing the destiny of as much as 500 jobs in danger from the closures.

The corporate and the union are discussing the redeployment of employees to different mines or voluntary separation, the union president stated.

Debswana spokeswoman Agatha Sejoe stated the corporate was nonetheless in discussions and would difficulty a press launch on the matter sooner or later.

The landlocked southern African nation, which is accustomed to an inflow of worldwide diamond consumers from Mumbai and Antwerp and merchants from China, closed its borders in March to curb the unfold of the coronavirus.

Debswana, which supplies the nation with round two-thirds of its international change and contributes a fifth of its GDP, produced 12.3 million carats within the first 9 months of the yr, down 29 % from the identical interval of 2019. Its exports have additionally plunged.

Authorities have forecast an 8.9 % contraction in GDP and a doubling of Botswana’s fiscal deficit in 2020.

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