De Beers Granted New Licences in Botswana, SA

Gaborone: De Beers, which is 85 percent-owned by Anglo American, said it was this year granted four new licences in Botswana, Group head of media relations Lynette Gould told Rough & Polished in an interview.

“We have been granted four new licences in Botswana; three in the Tsabong area, and one in the Orapa area,” she said.

Gould said the Orapa licence was of “some significance”. Botswana was the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of value and the majority of these stones were produced at Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government.

Debswana’s production decreased by 6 percent to 5.9 million carats during the first half of the year, mainly due to reduced output at Orapa.

Meanwhile, Gould said De Beers’ discussions with the Angolan government and Endiama for a mineral investment contract were on-going and comments by the country’s Minister of Mines, earlier this year, had been “very encouraging”.

She said that the group had also been awarded new reconnaissance and prospecting permits in South Africa’s Limpopo, Northern Cape and Free State Provinces. Gould described the move as “very encouraging”.

De Beers, Gould said, typically spend around $40 million per year on exploration across Canada, Angola, Botswana and South Africa.