A deal by local diamond cutting and polishing firm, Safdico, to buy and process diamonds from Lucapa Diamond Company in Angola has been acclaimed as one of the 2021 ‘game changers’ by renowned industry experts, Rapaport.
Under the deal, Safdico buys, cuts and polishes a portion of Lulo Mine’s production with the two partners sharing profits from the eventual sale of the stones. The deal was seen as significant as it marked the first time a diamond cutting and trading firm outside the De Beers group, secured supply from outside Botswana.
In its 2021 Diamond Person of The Year bulletin released recently, Rapaport says the Safdico deal was one of the hallmark events of the year as the industry, hard hit by the pandemic, seeks to transform itself to match evolving trends throughout the diamond pipeline.
“There have been notable efforts to change the way rough diamonds are sold in 2021, but there’s a long road ahead on that score; breaking tradition takes time. The deal between Lucapa Diamond Company and Safdico, has introduced new life into the rough sector's approach to business,” wrote Rapaport diamond analyst, Avi Krawitz.
Angola, viewed as one of Africa’s rising locations for diamond exploration, only recently allowed its mines to find their own markets for polishing and trading and the Safdico deal underlines Botswana’s push to be the centre of diamond activities in Africa.
The Safdico deal culminated in a delegation of Angolan officials, led by their ambassador to Botswana, Her Excellency Beatriz Antónia Manuel de Morais, touring Safdico’s diamond factory located at Safdico’s state of the art diamond centre, the Diamond Technology Park (DTP). The DTP is situated along Airport Road and some of the diamonds from that country’s Lulo Mine are now being polished.
“We are humbled by the recognition of our company’s visionary efforts to change the way we do business,” Safdico International (Botswana) Managing Director, Rutang Moses said. “Diamond companies are starting to think out of the box and looking for new sources of regular diamond supply.”
To mitigate the pandemic, De Beers also changed its approach to business as it continued to relax trading conditions with the selling periods, known as sights, extended beyond their normal week-long duration. The company also offered viewings in other locations outside of Botswana.