Gaborone: Botswana minister said the current mismatch in rough and polished diamond prices has resulted in weak demand for gems.
The country’s Ministry of minerals, energy and water resources Onkokame Kitso Mokaila told delegates at the annual Botswana Resource Sector Conference in the capital, Gaborone that the downstream diamond sector had been recording squeezed margins.
Diamond cutter Teemane manufacturing indicated last February that it was planning to close its 20 year operations in Botswana due to low prices for polished stones.
General Manager Mervin Lifshitz told Bloomeberg at the time that prices for polished diamonds were too low for the current rough prices, which dovetails with what Mokaila said.
Diamond cutting and polishing companies in the country were also grappling with high operational costs. This, they said, had been hampering the progress of their business. Botswana had a resource expected to last at least until 2050 with stable production of around 22 million carats a year.