Mmegi Online :: Debswana: 48 years as Botswana’s engine of growth
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Monday 10 December 2018, 15:12 pm.
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Debswana: 48 years as Botswana’s engine of growth

It was almost five decades ago on Monday June 23, 1969 when De Beers Botswana Mining Company was born. At that time, it would have been impossible to predict that the same company would develop to become the mainstay of the country’s economy or that it would transform the country from one of the poorest in the world to one of upper-middle income status. BusinessWeek Staffer PAULINE DIKUELO reflects on the transformation of the company celebrating 48 years of existence
By Pauline Dikuelo Fri 30 Jun 2017, 17:21 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Debswana: 48 years as Botswana’s engine of growth








Since its inception Debswana has played a major role in the history of Botswana’s development throughout its 48-year history.

Proceeds from diamonds have been used prudently to improve the lives of Batswana through the building of schools, roads and healthcare facilities.

Currently one of Debswana’s mines, Jwaneng is the flagship of the company due to substantially higher dollar per carat obtained for its gems. The mine, which is one of the richest mines in the world, contributes about 60% to 70% of Debswana’s total revenue.

Production at Jwaneng Mine normally varies according to mining plans of approximately 12.5 to 15 million carats per year. Recently the mine took time to reflect on its journey since inception when the company was registered as De Beers Botswana Mining Company Proprietary Limited under the Companies Proclamation Act of 1959. 

This was then followed by the first board meeting, which was convened on Wednesday July 9, 1969 whose agenda dealt with the usual post incorporation formalities with the first Botswana government nominees appointed to the board of directors, Lawrence Lekalake and Quill Hermans on  November 10, 1970.  

The first dividend was declared on Tuesday March 21, 1972 and amounted to R819,000. The first open pit mine was discovered about 240 kilometres west of Francistown by a team of De Beers geologists led by Manfed Marx in 1967. However, the mine became fully operational in July 1971.

The following year the world’s richest diamond mine, Jwaneng pipe was discovered in the Naledi Valley in the Southern District of Botswana even though it became fully operational in August 1982.  Letlhakane Mine became Debswana’s second mine when it opened in 1975 after it was

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first discovered during the sampling and evaluation process at Orapa.

Currently, the mine is managed from the larger Orapa operation. On March 1992, the company was subsequently changed to Debswana Diamond Company (Proprietary) Limited with the objective of mining diamonds and its associated processes.

Speaking during the 48th celebrations recently, Debswana Diamond Company board secretary, Bonny Thebenyane paid tribute to their Debswana employees who contributed to the past 48 years noting that it was through them that Debswana evolved into an iconic Botswana corporate citizen.

“I wish to pay tribute to Debswana’s employees throughout the pages of its history hitherto. Through your hard work Debswana has evolved into an iconic Botswana corporate citizen, which is a source of pride to all citizens and also a beacon of light during the gloomy economic moments that have become commonplace in recent times.  Your dedication and service to this company counts you amongst all our patriots,” he said.

According to Thebenyane, Debswana is celebrated as an example of a successful private public partnership that has stood the test of time because it has consistently and sustainably brought value to its shareholders and most importantly, to the people of Botswana.

Further he acknowledged, the contribution made by the successive leadership of Debswana over the years noting that they have ensured that this company remains in good shape and laid the foundations for their current High Performance Organisation 2018 Strategy. 

“As we line-up for the final lap of HPO 2018 in the coming year, taking this moment to retrace our origins also gives us an opportunity to rededicate our commitment to keeping Debswana great and always ahead,” he said.

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