GABORONE — Sales of rough diamonds by Debswana Diamond Company jumped 64 percent in 2021, statistics released by the Bank of Botswana showed on Monday, driven by the reopening of key global consumer markets.
The total value of Debswana’s diamond exports stood at US$3,466 billion in 2021 compared with US$2,120 billion in 2020, the central bank data showed.
Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American unit De Beers and Botswana’s government, sells 75 percent of its output to De Beers with the balance taken up by the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.
Debswana sales fell by 30 percent in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand while global travel restrictions impacted trading.
Since mid-2020 De Beers has shifted some of its rough diamond viewings to international diamond centres such as Antwerp to cater for customers unable to travel to Gaborone.
“Demand for rough diamonds remained robust, with positive midstream sentiment and strong demand for diamond jewellery continuing over the holiday period, particularly in the key U.S. consumer market,” Anglo American said in a production update last Thursday.
Debswana accounts for almost all Botswana’s diamond exports, with Lucara Diamond Corp’s Karowe mine being the only other operating diamond mine in the country.