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Friday, 19 April 2024

De Beers kicks off “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim

Business

This week De Beers announced that diamonds which will be purchased from the current Sight of 2019 which is the third and runs from April 1 to 5, and onwards, where customers can refer to stones purchased from the giant mining company as “diamonds from DTC” across the value chain down to the end-consumer level.

According to De Beers, Sightholders and Accredited Buyers will be able to use the “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim across the value chain down to the consumer level, and will be able to provide assurance on its validity through certifying the claim under the Responsible Jewellery Council standards, or through an independent third-party audit. The “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim will add glitter to the ever sparkling Botswana’s diamond-led development story. Diamonds from Botswana contribute to 27 percent or US$ 4.4 billion of the GDP.

In Botswana De Beers has four companies in diamond business; De Beers Holdings, Debswana, Diamond Trading Company Botswana and De Beers Global Sightholder Sales. De Beers Holdings is the exploration arm and is currently focused on early stage exploration programmes in Tsabong, Orapa, Palapye and Kang. Debswana, a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and the Government, is the primary producer of diamonds in Botswana.

The Diamond Trading Company Botswana, also a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and the Government, sorts and values the rough diamonds mined by Debswana. De Beers Global Sightholder Sales is responsible for selling the bulk of De Beers’ global production to its rough diamond customers, known as Sightholders. In 2013, De Beers moved this international sales operation from London to Gaborone, resulting in growth in the volume of diamonds traded in Botswana to about US$6 billion, leading to a boost to employment, as well as downstream and other support services.

“We are proud of where our diamonds are discovered, how we recover them responsibly and the role our activities play in building thriving communities. By enabling our customers to share the source of origin of our diamonds, we hope to drive further transparency throughout the diamond value chain,” said De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver this week.

According to De Beers, the “diamonds from DTC” provenance claim will offer greater significance than many other industry provenance claims, as it not only states corporate provenance, but is also supported by the provision of sustainability performance and transparency information on each of the mines of origin

Diamonds from DTC Botswana journey

Exploration of diamonds is done entirely by De Beers. Mining or production is done at Debswana, a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and the Government, which owns mines: Jwaneng, Letlhakane, Orapa and Damtshaa. Thirteen percent of Debswana production is made available by Okavango Diamond Company, a rough diamond distribution entity which is 100 percent owned by Botswana government. Most of the Botswana diamonds are transferred to De Beers Global Sightholders Sales.

De Beers Global Sightholders Sales sells around 90 per cent of De Beers’ rough diamonds by value, via term contracts to customers known as Sightholders, at events called Sights. Rough diamonds from these mines will then be sorted and valued by the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTC Botswana) another 50/50 Joint Venture partnership between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers.After being valued and sorted by DTC Botswana, rough diamonds will then be sold to Sightholders or Accredited Buyers-these are a select group of clients which are certified by De Beers to be demonstrating high financial integrity and sufficient demand for rough diamonds.

In Botswana there are 20 Sightholders who have established cutting and polishing diamonds in Gaborone. De Beers sell rough diamonds through ‘Sights’ to these Sightholders or Accredited Buyers. Rough diamonds can also be sold via online auction sales. Sights which comes after every five weeks and last up for a week, the coming one slated for April 1 to 5(third one of this year), are held 10 times a year in Botswana (and Namibia and South Africa), where customers will inspect their rough diamond allocations before deciding whether to purchase them. Diamonds will then be cut and polished by diamentaires before being sold to jewelers and other retailers around the world.

Skepticism dresses the 3rd Sight 


Towards the current Sight which ran this week, diamond experts around the world expected rough diamond prices to drop to drop 1 percent to 2 percent in the first half of 2019. These analysts also expected the prices to recover then end 2019 flat. London based analyst Kieron Hodgson told diamond publisher Rapaport that prices rose to 2 percent last year due to a strong first half, but the market slowed in the second half. According to Hodgson, production rose over the last two years and this led to supply outweighing demand especially in smaller categories.

According to Rapaport Weekly Market Comment, sentiment weakens after soft first quarter and dealers are avoiding large inventory purchases, and manufacturers on the other hand are reducing supply. The publication says miners are bracing for tough year as first-quarter sales decline an estimated 30 percent “Rough market under pressure, with some analysts optimistically predicting flat rough prices in 2019. Sightholders hoping profit margins will improve after next week’s sight,” says the comment.

Jewelers International Showcase

As a biggest diamond producing country backed by De Beers which is a big player in the industry, Botswana diamonds end products are expected to be among ones to be exhibited at the Jewelers International Showcase(JIS)-the second largest jewelry show in the Wstern Hemisphere. The JIS is slated for April 16-18 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre in the state of Florida, USA.

The Surat trade mission

Many diamantaries are expected to converge at the Indian city of Surat where they will be provided with an unprecedented opportunity for members of the diamond and jewelry trade to meet and interact with the diamond cutters, dealers and market makers in the world’s largest diamond cutting center. Surat is home to an estimated 500,000 diamond cutters, who manufacture over 90 percent of the world’s polished diamonds. The trip to Surat will be on April 8 to 11.

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Business

LLR transforms from Company to Group reporting

9th April 2024

Botswana Stock Exchange listed diversified real estate company, Letlole La Rona Limited (“LLR” or “the Company” or “the Group”), posted its first set of group financial statements which comprise the Company and Group consolidated accounts, which show strong financial performance for the six months ended 31 December 2023, with improvements across all key metrics.

The Company commenced the financial year with the appointment of a Deputy Chairperson, Mr Mooketsi Maphane, in order to bolster its governance and enhance leadership continuity through the development of a Board and Executive Management Succession Plan.

At operational level, LLR increased its shareholding in Railpark Mall from 32.79% to 57.79% and proudly took over the management of this prime asset.

The CEO of LLR, Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng commented “During the period under review, our portfolio continued to perform strongly, with improvements across all key metrics as a result of our ongoing focus on portfolio growth and optimisation.

“We are pleased to report a successful first half of the 2024 financial year, where we managed to not only grow the portfolio through strategic acquisitions and value accretive refurbishments but also recycled capital through the disposal of Moedi House as well as the ongoing sale of section titles at Red Square Apartments. The acquisition of an additional 25% stake in JTTM Properties significantly uplifted the value of our investment portfolio to P2.0 billion at a Group level. Our investment portfolio was further differentiated by the quality of our tenant base, as demonstrated by above market occupancy levels of 99.15% and strong collections of above 100% for the period”.

The growth in contractual revenue of 9% from the prior year’s P48.0 million to the current year P52.2 million, increased income from Railpark Mall, coupled with high collection rates, has enabled the company to declare a distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit, which is in line with the prior year.

 

In line with its strategic pillars of ‘Streamlined and Expanded Botswana Portfolio’ as well as ‘Quality African Assets’, the Group continuously monitors the performance of its investments to ensure that they meet the targeted returns.

“The Group continues to explore yield accretive opportunities for balance sheet growth and funding options that can be deployed to finance that growth” further commented the CEO of LLR Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng.

Ms Mowaneng further thanked the Group’s stakeholders for their continued support and stated that they look forward to unlocking further value in the Group.

 

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Business

Botswana’s Electricity Generation Dips 26.4%

9th April 2024

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has reported a significant decrease in electricity generation for the fourth quarter of 2023, with output plummeting by 26.4%. This decline is primarily attributed to operational difficulties at the Morupule B power plant, as per the latest Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released recently.

Local electricity production saw a drastic reduction, falling from 889,535 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 654,312 MWH in the period under review. This substantial decrease is largely due to the operational challenges at the Morupule B power plant. Consequently, the need for imported electricity surged by 35.6% (136,243 MWH) from 382,426 MWH in the third quarter to 518,669 MWH in the fourth quarter. This increase was necessitated by the need to compensate for the shortfall in locally generated electricity.

Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) was the principal supplier of imported electricity, accounting for 43.1% of total electricity imports during the fourth quarter of 2023. Eskom followed with 21.8%, while the remaining 12.1, 10.3, 8.6, and 4.2% were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), Nampower, and Cross-border electricity markets, respectively. Cross-border electricity markets involve the supply of electricity to towns and villages along the border from neighboring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.

Distributed electricity exhibited a decrease of 7.8% (98,980 MWH), dropping from 1,271,961 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 1,172,981 MWH in the review quarter.

Electricity generated locally contributed 55.8% to the electricity distributed during the fourth quarter of 2023, a decrease from the 74.5% contribution in the same quarter of the previous year. This signifies a decrease of 18.7 percentage points. The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of locally generated electricity to the distributed electricity fell by 14.2 percentage points, from 69.9% in the third quarter of 2023 to 55.8% in the fourth quarter. The Morupule A and B power stations accounted for 90.4% of the electricity generated during the fourth quarter of 2023, while Matshelagabedi and Orapa emergency power plants contributed the remaining 5.9 and 3.7% respectively.

The year-on-year analysis reveals some improvement in local electricity generation. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 8.2% (88,781 MWH), from 1,084,200 MWH in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 1,172,981 MWH in the current quarter. The trend of the Index of Electricity Generation from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 indicates an improvement in local electricity generation, despite fluctuations.

The year-on-year analysis also reveals a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity. The trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 shows a downward trend, indicating the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, has led to the decreased reliance on electricity imports.

In response to the need to increase local generation and reduce power imports, the government has initiated a new National Energy Policy. This policy is aimed at guiding the management and development of Botswana’s energy sector and encouraging investment in new and renewable energy. In the policy document, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi stated that the policy aims to transform Botswana from being a net energy importer to a self-sufficient nation with surplus energy for export into the region. Moagi expressed confidence that Botswana has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in electric power supply, given the country’s readily available energy resources such as coal and renewable sources.

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Business

MMG acquires Khoemacau in a transaction valued at P23Bn

9th April 2024

MMG Limited, the Hong Kong-based mining company specializing in base metals, has successfully concluded the acquisition of Khoemacau Copper Mine, a state-of-the-art, world-class copper asset nestled in the northwest of Botswana.

On Monday, MMG announced that the acquisition of Khoemacau Mine in Botswana was finalized on 22nd March 2024. “This acquisition enriches the company’s portfolio with a top-tier, transformative growth project and signifies a monumental milestone in the Company’s journey,” MMG communicated in an official statement published on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Upon completion of the acquisition, MMG remitted to the Sellers an Aggregate Consideration of approximately US$1,734,657,000 (over P23 billion), a sum subject to potential adjustments post-Completion.

In addition to the Aggregate Consideration, MMG, in accordance with the Agreement, advanced an aggregate amount of approximately US$348,580,000 (over P4.5 billion) as the Aggregate Debt Settlement Amount, to settle certain debt balances of the Target Group (Cuprous Capital/Khoemacau).

On November 21, 2023, Khoemacau announced that the shareholders of its parent company [Cuprous Capital] had agreed to sell 100% of their interests to MMG Limited.

MMG is a global resources company that mines, explores, and develops copper and other base metals projects on four continents. The company is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and has a significant shareholder, China Minmetals Corporation, which is China’s largest metals and minerals group owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

On December 22, 2023, Khoemacau Copper Mining (Pty) Ltd received the approval from the Minister of Minerals and Energy of Botswana regarding the transfer of a controlling interest in the Project Licenses and Prospecting Licenses associated with the Khoemacau Copper Mine, a result of the Acquisition.

 

The Botswana Competition & Consumer Authority (CCA) on January 29, 2024, notified the market that it had given its approval for the takeover of Khoemacau Copper Mining by MMG Limited.

On January 29, 2024, the CCA issued a merger decision to the market, stating that after conducting all necessary assessments, it was ready to proceed.

The Competition Authority affirmed that the structure of the relevant market would not significantly change upon implementation of the proposed merger as the proposed transaction is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition, nor endanger the continuity of service in the market of mining of copper and silver ores and the production, and sale or supply of copper concentrate in Botswana.

Furthermore, the CCA stated that the proposed merger would not have any negative impact on public interest matters in Botswana as per the provisions of section 52(2) of the Competition Act 2018.

Earlier this month, Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, informed parliament that his Ministry was endorsing the Khoemacau acquisition by MMG Limited. He noted that not only was the company acquiring the existing operation but also committing to an expansion program that would cost over $700 million to double production, create more jobs for Batswana, and increase taxes and royalties paid to the Government.

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