Gaborone: De Beers Group increased returns to governments, communities, supply chain partners and its joint venture partners by 26 per cent to US$5 billion in 2016, according to its latest Report to Society, published yesterday.
The increase, delivered through taxes, payments for goods and services and dividends, reflects De Beers Group’s improved financial and operating performance in a year that it signed a milestone sales agreement with its Government partner in Namibia and opened the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada.
De Beers Group generated further socio-economic benefit for its partners through the sale of US$1.4 billion of rough diamonds to local cutting and polishing businesses within its producer countries – a more than 70 per cent increase on 2015 – as part of its in-country beneficiation strategy.
Goods and services amounting to more than US$1 billion were procured by the company within its producer countries – a three per cent increase – ensuring greater value was realised across domestic supply chains.
The Report also highlights that De Beers Group:
- supported more than 640 jobs and 120 businesses through enterprise development projects in southern Africa;
- managed 164,000 hectares of land for conservation – an area five times the size of that affected by the company’s mining activities;
- launched Diamox, Element Six’s industrial wastewater treatment system that purifies highly contaminated water using synthetic diamond material;
- invested a further US$5 million in the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research’s testing and grading facility in Surat, India, helping to reinforce consumer confidence.
Following extensive research undertaken over the course of last year, the company is also working on a project to investigate the potential of carbon-neutral mining through storing large volumes of carbon in kimberlite tailings, the rock material left over after diamonds are mined.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Last year our partnerships delivered significant value for the countries in which we operate. Through our US$1 billion investment in local goods and services, we helped put local supply chains to work, sustaining jobs and encouraging socio-economic development.
“As the world’s leading diamond company, we have a responsibility to the people in the countries we operate in to ensure the value of what we mine below ground is realised at a local level above ground.
“Diamonds are a finite and precious resource, so it remains our responsibility to mine them safely and sustainably, and always while focusing on delivering real benefits for our partners in our operating countries that will be realised long after our last mine closes.”