Botswana Takes 24 Percent Stake in HB Antwerp Amid Talks with De Beers

(MENAFN) Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has recently announced that the country will acquire a 24% stake in HB Antwerp, a Belgian gem trader 1. This move is seen as a potential challenge to Botswana's longstanding agreement with South African diamond giant De Beers.

The Southern African nation has been negotiating a new agreement with De Beers, under which a joint venture would mine most of the country's gems. However, Masisi has reportedly threatened to walk away from the talks and praised how HB Antwerp handles the diamonds extracted at Botswana's Karowe Mine, which is owned by Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond 1.

Botswana is the leading diamond producer in Africa and the second-largest worldwide after Russia. The country's state-owned Okavango Diamond Company is responsible for selling its diamonds in partnership with De Beers 2. However, the recent move to acquire a stake in HB Antwerp could potentially challenge this arrangement.

As per the announcement, Botswana's state gem trader will supply HB Antwerp with precious stones for the next five years. The deal is expected to bring significant revenue to Botswana's diamond industry and could potentially lead to increased competition for De Beers 1.

The move towards diversifying Botswana's diamond trading partners is not a new development. In recent years, the country has been exploring ways to expand its diamond industry and reduce its reliance on De Beers. In 2020, Botswana launched a new diamond trading platform, the Okavango Diamond Company Online 3. The platform allows buyers to purchase rough diamonds directly from the country's state-owned diamond company.

In conclusion, Botswana's acquisition of a stake in HB Antwerp could potentially challenge the country's longstanding agreement with De Beers. However, it is also a sign of the country's efforts to diversify its diamond trading partners and strengthen its position in the global diamond industry.



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