Budget boost as diamond sales hit records

Digging deep: Debswana sales reached a five-year peak in 2021 PIC: DEBSWANA.COM
Digging deep: Debswana sales reached a five-year peak in 2021 PIC: DEBSWANA.COM

Debswana sold rough diamonds worth P38.1 billion last year, the highest since 2016, as the precious stones powered back from their COVID-19 induced downturn to anchor the economy’s revival.

BusinessWeek can reveal that state-owned diamond trader, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) also sold $963 million (P11.1 billion) worth of rough diamonds in 2021, an all-time high for the 10-year-old company. Debswana sells 25% of its production to ODC and the balance through the De Beers sales platform.

The diamond rebound in 2021 came after a troubled year in which COVID-19 played havoc with the diamond sector, disrupting auctions of the precious stones in Botswana, while lockdowns in key markets interrupted consumer purchases. The pandemic also dampened consumer demand for diamond jewellery, whose purchases are directly linked to the levels of rough diamond production in countries such as Botswana.

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