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Botswana seeks collaboration with Russia's diamond industry

Staff Writer
Botswana is looking to collaborate with Russia in diamond mining and cutting, Interfax reported.

The news agency cited Nchidzi Mmolawa, director of mineral affairs in Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources saying that the two countries "need to work closely in diamond mining and to sign the necessary agreements."

"We'd like to see Russian companies involved in exploration, and activity on the part not just of ALROSA but of other companies, too," he added. The two countries are the world's two largest diamond producers with Botswana topping the list when measured by value and Russia being the biggest by volume. ALROSA contributes an estimated 97 percent of Russia's total production.

 In Botswana, mining is carried out by Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and the government.

The government

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and De Beers also have an equal partnership in marketing the diamonds through the Botswana Diamond Trading Company (DTC), however, the two are renegotiating their sales agreement as it expires at the end of 2010.

 Botswana has expressed its desire to sell rough outside the De Beers framework as part of an effort to develop a trading hub in the country.  The country has set up a beneficiation industry in collaboration with De Beers, with 16 cutting facilities currently in operation.  To this end, Mmolawa said Botswana would like to integrate with the entire diamond production chain, "set the relevant center up and attract investment for diamond cutting," according to the Interfax report.-(rapaportnews)

 



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