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Lucara gigantic stone shakes Canadian markets

This week Lucara Diamond Corp which started this year on a high note with regards to digging out larger precious stones discovered a 223 carat high white gem diamond and its share price responded by a hot wave which slightly shook the Canadian markets, going up by 8.28 percent or moving up by 14 cents from $1.69 to $1. 83.

A market observation shows on 15 February the share price was at $1.69 and it went up to $1.83 the same time when Lucara announced its 223 carat diamond. This was after the share price was moving at a slow but fluctuating pace of between $1.67 and $1.68 since 7 February 2019 prior to the big announcement of the 223 carat gem on 19 February 2019 which showed a significant rise of 8.28 percent in the share price. In the Swedish market the new discovery by Lucara only increased by 1.59 percent while in Botswana the share price remained unmoved at P16.00 even after the big announcement.

Lucara’s primary listing is in the Toronto Stock Exchange(TSX), has secondary listing in the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stockholm all under the share code “LUC”. Lucara is registered in Toronto, Canada and 100 percent Karowe Mine in Letlhakane where the recent 223 carat high white gem diamond discovery was made.

The latest 223 carat mined from the Botswana soil is expected to be showcased alongside its other large counterparts, the 127 carat which was discovered just ten days into 2019 and the 240 carat which was found eighteen days later still on this year, at the upcoming diamond tender closing on 7 March 2019. The next sale date for Lucara diamonds is 7 March 2019 and the viewings, which are open for Gaborone, Botswana only, will be on 24 February and 7 March 2019.

Lucara President and Chief Executive Officer Eira Thomas commented: “2019 is off to a great start, with several, high quality diamonds in excess of 100 carats having been recovered by mid February, a testament to the strong, stable operating environment that has prevailed at Karowe since late 2018. The 127 carat, 240 carat and 223 carat gems will be made available for sale alongside other exceptional, single diamonds at our first diamond tender of the year, closing on March 7, 2019.”

Last year Thomas lauded Botswana’s Karowe mine’s significant contribution to Lucara’s production, especially with regards to producing big gems. The Lucara president called Karowe operations “stabilized and significantly improved our mining operations.” Diasmond experts believe Karowe has positioned itself as Lucara’s flagship with the production of larger diamonds.

Ever since laying its sharp mechanisms on Karowe in 2012 a total of 129 diamonds in excess of 100 carats have been mined and last year 33 precious stones were dug up. There have been 12 larger than 300 carats in size diamonds mined by Lucara and five of them were recovered in 2018. When touting Karowe last year after an avalanche discovery of further larger diamonds Thomas said the Letlhakane mine “has consistently delivered large, high-value diamonds throughout its history.” The Karowe open pit is reported to boast reserves of 2.6 million carats extending out to 2026.

Karowe is known to produce the historic 1109 carat Lesedi La Rona diamond, the largest rough diamond to be found in more than a century. Lesedi La Rona which was dug up in Karowe in November 2015 is also the third largest diamond ever found and the second largest of gem quality-only the non-black gem Sergio and the gem-quality Cullinan were larger. The largest diamond to be produced by Lucara was insured for P1.2 billion and was sold for P530 million to British jeweler Graff Diamonds

Another giant gem coming out of the Karowe open pit was the 813 carat Constellation which was purchased by Swiss jeweler De Grisogono for P631 million. Both Lesedi La Rona and Constellation have been rated Type IIa by the Gemological Institute of America. Type IIa diamonds are the most valued and the purest type of diamonds. They are regarded as rare and coveted subgroup and are chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency.

Next month Clara Diamond Solutions is expected to have a field day when selling the large three diamonds which have just been discovered in two months.  Clara, wholly owned by Lucara, is the digital sales platform that uses proprietary analytics together with cloud and blockchain technologies to modernize the existing diamond supply chain, driving efficiencies, unlocking value and ensuring diamond provenance from mine to finger.

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NAMDEB extends life of mine for land operations by up to 20 years

19th October 2021

Joint venture between De Beers and Government of Republic of Namibia announces new plan, supporting economic, commercial, employment and community benefit, following receipt of royalty relief Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Proprietary) Limited (‘Namdeb’), a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia, today announced the approval of a new long-term business plan that will extend the current life of mine for Namibia’s land-based operations as far as 2042.

Under the previous business plan, the land-based Namdeb operations would have come to the end of their life at the end of 2022 due to unsustainable economics. However, a series of positive engagements between the Namdeb management team and the Government of the Republic of Namibia has enabled the creation of a mutually beneficial new business plan that extends the life of mine by up to 20 years, delivering positive outcomes for the Namibian economy, the Namdeb business, employees, community partners and the wider diamond industry.

As part of the plan, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has offered Namdeb royalty relief from 2021 to 2025, with the royalty rate during this period reducing from 10% to 5%. This royalty relief has in turn underpinned an economically sustainable future for Namdeb via a life of mine extension that, through the additional taxes, dividends and royalties from the extended life of mine, is forecast to generate an additional fiscal contribution for Namibia of approximately N$40 billion. Meanwhile, the life of mine extension will also deliver ongoing employment for Namdeb’s existing employees, the creation of 600 additional jobs, ongoing benefits for community partners and approximately eight million carats of additional high value production.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Namdeb, a shining example of partnership, has a proud and unique place in Namibia’s economic history. This new business plan, forged by Namdeb management and enabled by the willingness of Government to find a solution in the best interest of Namibia, means that Namdeb’s future is now secure and the company is positioned to continue making a significant contribution to the Namibian economy, the socio-economic development of the Oranjemund community and the lives of Namdeb employees.” Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy for the Government of the Republic of Namibia, said: “Mining remains the backbone of our economy and is one of the largest employment sectors within our country.

Government understood the fundamental impact of what the Namdeb mine closure at the end of 2022 would have had on Namibia. Therefore, it was imperative to safeguard this operation for the benefit of sustaining the life of mine for both the national economy as well as preserving employment for our people and the livelihoods of families that depend on it.”

Riaan Burger, CEO, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, said: “After more than a century of production, these operations were approaching the end of their life, but the creation of this new business plan means we can continue to deliver for Namibia for many years into the future. This is great news for the hardworking women and men of Namdeb, as well as for all our community partners who we are proud to have worked with over the years. We now look forward to starting a new chapter in Namdeb’s proud history.”

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Botswana records first trade surplus since January

7th October 2021
Botswana-records-first-trade-surplus-

Botswana has recorded its first trade surplus for 2021 since the only one for the year in January.

The country’s exports for the month of July surpassed the value of imports, Statistics Botswana’s July International Merchandise Trade data reveals.

Released last Friday, the monthly trade digest reports a positive jump in the trade balance graph against the backdrop of a series of trade deficits in the preceding months since January this year.

According to the country’s significant data body, imports for the month were valued at P7.232 billion, reflecting a decline of 6.6 percent from the revised June 2021 value of P7.739 billion.

Total exports during the same month amounted to P7.605 billion, showing an increase of 6.1 percent over the revised June 2021 value of P7.170 billion.

A trade surplus of P373.2 million was recorded in July 2021. This follows a revised trade deficit of P568.7 million for June 2021.

For the total exports value of P7.605 billion, the Diamonds group accounted for 91.2 percent (P6.936 billion), followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Salt & Soda Ash with 2.2 percent (P169.7 million) and 1.3 percent (P100.9 million) respectively.

Asia was the leading destination for Botswana exports, receiving 65.2 percent (P4.96 billion) of total exports during July 2021.

These exports mostly went to the UAE and India, having received 26.3 percent (P1. 99 billion) and 18.7 percent (P1.422 billion) of total exports, respectively. The top most exported commodity to the regional block was Diamonds.

Exports destined to the European Union amounted to P1.64 billion, accounting for 21.6 percent of total exports.

Belgium received almost all exports destined to the regional union, acquiring 21.5 percent (P1.6337 billion) of total exports during the reporting period.

The Diamonds group was the leading commodity group exported to the EU. The SACU region received exports valued at P790.7 million, representing 10.4 percent of total exports.

Diamonds and Salt & Soda Ash commodity groups accounted for 37.8 percent (P298.6 million) and 6.2 percent (P48.7 million) of total exports to the customs union.

South Africa received 9.8 percent (P745.0 million) of total exports during the month under review. The Diamonds group contributed 39.9 percent (P297.4 million) to all goods destined for the country.

 

In terms of imports, the SACU region contributed 62.7 percent (P4.534 billion) to total imports during July.

The topmost imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco, and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with contributions of 33.3 percent (P1.510 billion), 17.4 percent (P789.4 million) and 12.7 percent (P576.7 million) to total imports from the region, respectively.

South Africa contributed 60.1 percent (P4.3497 billion) to total imports during July 2021.

Fuel accounted for 32.1 percent (P1.394 billion) of imports from that country. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.7 percent (P772.0 million) to imports from South Africa.

Namibia contributed 2.0 percent (P141.1 million) to the overall imports during the period under review. Fuel was the main commodity imported from that country at 82.1 percent (P115.8 million).

During the months, imports representing 63.5 percent (P4.5904 billion) were transported into the country by Road.

Transportation of imports by Rail and Air accounted for 22.7 percent (P1.645 billion) and 13.8 percent (P996.2 million), respectively.

During the month, goods exported by Air amounted to P6, 999.2 million, accounting for 92.0 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road were valued at P594.2 million (7.8 percent).

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Business

The 2021/2022 Stanford Seed Transformation Program Begins

7th October 2021

Founders from twenty companies have been accepted into the program from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa

The 4th Cohort of the Stanford Seed Transformation Program – Southern Africa (STP), a collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business and De Beers Group commenced classes on 20 September 2021. According to Otsile Mabeo, Vice President Corporate Affairs, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales: “We are excited to confirm that 20 companies have been accepted into the 4th Seed Transformation Programme from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The STP is an important part of the De Beers Group Building Forever sustainability strategy and demonstrates our commitment to the ‘Partnering for Thriving Communities’ pillar that aims at enhancing enterprise development in countries where we operate in the Southern African region”. Jeffrey Prickett, Global Director of Stanford Seed: “Business owners and their key management team members undertake a 12-month intensive leadership program that includes sessions on strategy and finance, business ethics, and design thinking, all taught by world-renowned Stanford faculty and local business practitioners. The program is exclusively for business owners and teams of for-profit companies or for-profit social enterprises with annual company revenues of US$300,000 – US$15million.” The programme will be delivered fully virtually to comply with COVID 19 protocols. Out of the 20 companies, 6 are from Botswana, 1 Namibia, and 13 South Africa. Since the partnership’s inception, De Beers Group and Stanford Seed have supported 74 companies, 89 founders/CEOs, and approximately 750 senior-level managers to undertake the program in Southern Africa.

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