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Botswana Pushes for De Beers and Anglo American Split

Botswana Calls for Separation of De Beers from Anglo American

by Motoni Olodun

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi is urging for the swift separation of diamond giant De Beers from its parent company, Anglo American. This call comes as Botswana seeks to have greater control and a larger share of profits from its diamond resources, which are a critical part of the country’s economy.

During a recent address, President Masisi emphasized the importance of this separation for the nation’s economic sovereignty and development. He highlighted that the current structure limits Botswana’s influence over the diamond industry, despite the country being one of the world’s leading diamond producers.

De Beers, which operates as a subsidiary of Anglo American, has long been a significant player in Botswana’s mining sector. The partnership between De Beers and the Botswana government, known as Debswana, is responsible for producing a substantial portion of the world’s diamonds. However, Masisi argues that the existing arrangement disproportionately benefits Anglo American, leaving Botswana with less control over its natural resources.

The President’s call for a separation aims to ensure that more of the profits from diamond mining are retained within Botswana. This, he believes, would enable greater investment in national infrastructure, education, and healthcare, ultimately benefiting the country’s citizens. The move is also seen as a step towards enhancing Botswana’s position in the global diamond market and securing its economic future.

Industry analysts have noted that the separation of De Beers from Anglo American could lead to significant changes in the diamond industry. Such a move would require careful negotiation and restructuring to ensure that both entities continue to thrive independently. There are also concerns about the potential impact on the global diamond supply chain and market dynamics.

Anglo American, which owns 85% of De Beers, has yet to respond officially to President Masisi’s remarks. However, the company’s past statements have indicated a commitment to maintaining its diversified portfolio, which includes diamonds, platinum, and copper. The separation could be complex, involving regulatory approvals and significant financial arrangements.

Botswana’s diamond industry is vital to its economy, contributing to more than one-third of its GDP and over 70% of export earnings. The government has been seeking ways to diversify the economy and reduce dependency on diamonds. The proposed separation is part of a broader strategy to gain more direct control over its natural resources and maximize their benefits for national development.

President Masisi’s push for this strategic move reflects a growing trend among resource-rich countries to assert more control over their natural resources. By negotiating better terms and ensuring a larger share of revenues, Botswana aims to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

The call for De Beers and Anglo American’s separation is expected to spark extensive discussions within the industry and among stakeholders. While the outcome remains uncertain, the push signals Botswana’s determination to reshape its economic landscape and enhance its sovereignty over valuable resources.

As Botswana navigates this critical juncture, there is optimism that the nation’s efforts will lead to greater economic empowerment and prosperity for its people. The separation, if realized, could serve as a model for other countries seeking to optimize their resource management and benefit their populations.

Source: Mining Weekly

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