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DTCB looks to process non-De Beers stones

Publishing Date : 13 February, 2018

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) is looking into the possibility of taking diamonds from non-De Beers mines for sorting and valuing. This was revealed by DTCB Managing Director, Mr Tobake Kobedi on Wednesday.


Speaking to the concept of more capacity to take more work from other customers, the Managing Director reiterated that as an organization DTCB desires not to only be limited to receiving Debswana Diamonds. “Currently our shareholder agreement as mandated by our establishment we sort diamonds from De Beers mines in Botswana only, but we want to make propositions to our shareholders context of building a legacy for Botswana that shall exist beyond diamond depletion, that look we have to be at the base and host of the entire value chain as a country because we recover the most valuable stones from our local pits,” said Kobedi.


He said DTCB plant capacity can sort and value over 33 million carats of Diamond in 12 months but currently only receiving 22 million carats from Debswana mines.  “Why can’t we take rough diamonds from Lucara, Ghagoo and other mines? Currently the resuscitation of Zimbabwe speaks possibilities of new diamond discoveries, why can’t we ready ourselves to propose intake from them and other mines in the region?” Kobedi posed these questions explaining the intention of DTCB strategy 2020 and its vision towards to ensuring that Botswana remains a Diamond Hub beyond depletion of the stones.


According to Kobedi positioning DTCB as a world class organisation was a pivotal conversation for the future of Botswana, he said it was imperative for Botswana to think beyond diamonds. “Diamonds are not finite and currently the discovered ore combined with tailings will take us just beyond 2050,” he said.


“What will happened after that? We need to  start training our people in different disciplines of the diamond industry ,polishing , sales and so forth and build  facilities and capacity that shall translate into Botswana being the Diamond hub of the world , and DTCB has a role to play here , for us as a country to start thinking of jewellery manufacturing and retail DTCB has to have volumes of  diamonds sorted and valued here from mines worldwide hence our quest as inclined in this strategy , this is a starting point for a revolution that will birth Botswana into a Diamond country with huge stake in the whole value chain and diamond pipeline subsequently  the much needed economic transformation.”  


Kobedi said his company desires to improve its performance and delivery to customers. He indicated that through the Strategy 2020, DTCB was re-aligning itself as a processing organisation with resultant impacts on processes, structures, systems and culture.


“When we commenced this realignment we had to part ways with about 75 of our employees not because there were ineffective and incompetent but because our business remodelling dictated that some of the duties were redundant and over lapping hence the retrenchments,” he explained.


By 2020 when a new sales agreement is penned down, DTCB intends to have improved its efficiencies and effectiveness as a rough diamond sorting and valuing operation. “We are creating a flexible and agile organisation, capable to respond to market needs and this in the context of transforming DTCB into an operationally excellent processing organisation as well as position DTCB to have capacity to take on more work for other customers,” Kobedi said.  


Joseph Ithobogeng, DTCB Chief Operations Officer shared that by 2020 DTCB intends to have attained recognition as a world-class processing organisation, be a more reliable, with repeatable and consistent delivery to customers as well as reduced pipeline  and increased market flexibility and responsiveness. “We will have reduced rework through efficient quality systems, reduced business risk and increased customer confidence in meeting sales deadlines by 2020,” he said.


Further deliberating on this the DTCB Management observed that to be a world class processing organisation that can take rough diamonds from diversified clientele out of De Beers recovery mines portfolio, increased cost efficiency with streamlined structures and  stock holding costs cannot be over emphasized.  


“We are building a capable, motivated workforce with high productivity levels and optimised capacity to enable new opportunities, we are half way into this 5 year strategy, launched in 2015 and we are confident by 2020 we will be able to submit and propose to our shareholder that we are ready for exploration of new opportunities to broaden our clientele in the rough diamond value chain and pipeline.”


DTCB recently commissioned state of the art Diamond Cleaning Plant, a laboratory of sophisticated chemical processes of quantum physics operations and complex scientific techniques of cleansing, valuing and sorting stones of intricate mineralogical occurrences that diamonds are. The plant is far much enhanced from precious facility housed in Jwaneng. DTCB is a 50-50 venture between Botswana Government and De Beers, the company avails 85 % of their sorted and valued diamonds to De Beers Sight holder Sales and 15 %   to Okavango Diamonds which is wholly owned by Botswana Government.

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