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Debswana production up 33%

Debswana dug 6.1 million carats of diamonds in the third quarter; a 33 percent growth in production, the improvement comes after the miner had cut output last year in response to weaker trading conditions.

Orapa’s production increased 60 per cent mainly driven by the ramp-up of Plant 1, which was previously on partial care and maintenance in response to trading conditions in late 2015. Jwaneng’s production increased 23 per cent as a result of planned increases in feed to plant.
According to shareholder, Anglo American, Rough diamond production for Q3 2017 increased 46 per cent to 9.2 million carats in line with the higher production forecast for 2017, reflecting stable trading conditions as well as the contribution from the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué in Canada.

Anglo American said the increase was a response to a rebound in demand for the precious stones following a downturn last year. The largest production increase was in De Beers South Africa where Production increased 41 per cent to 1.5 million carats largely as a result of higher grades at Venetia.

Owing to the mixed demand of diamonds in 2016, Debswana revised its production for 2016 to 20 million carats to match expected levels of demand for rough. In the first three months of the year Debswana dug up 5.33 million carats of diamonds a five percent reduction from the carats mined during that same period in 2015. But demand has since improved into Q3 2017.

According to Anglo American’s latest report consolidated rough diamond sales volumes in Q3 2017 were 6.5 million carats (6.9 million carats on a total 100 per cent basis) from two Sights, compared with 5.3 million carats (5.7 million carats on a total 100 per cent basis) from two Sights in Q3 2016. The increase was driven by a normalisation of demand for lower value goods in 2017. Production at Namdeb Holdings (Namibia) increased 12 per cent to 454,000 carats primarily as a result of higher mining rates from Debmarine Namibia’s Mafuta vessel.
In Canada production increased five-fold to 1.1 million carats due to the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué, which reached nameplate capacity in Q2 2017. Gahcho Kué was officially opened on 20 September 2016.

Meanwhile, De Beers total rough diamond sales grew 77 percent by volume in the third quarter, reflecting improved trading conditions compared with a slump in demand a year ago.
 De Beers’s Full year production guidance has been revised to ~33 million carats (previously 31 – 33 million carats). The shareholder, Anglo American which has been in the process of selling off mines and slimming down its portfolio, had chalked up better-than-expected production in commodities it is looking to exit, including iron ore used in steelmaking and coal. Since the restructuring was unveiled, the prices of iron ore and coal had rallied strongly, against all expectations, boosting Anglo’s cashflow from operations it had earmarked for disposal.

ANGLO’S OTHER PRODUCTION

Meanwhile Anglo American reports a 6% increase in total production on a copper equivalent basis in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the same period of 2016. For the first nine months of the year, copper equivalent production has increased by 8%. Mark Cutifani, Anglo American Chief Executive, said: “We have delivered another strong production performance across our business. Grosvenor production has materially stepped-up as the new operating procedures have been implemented, while Gahcho Kué and Minas-Rio continue to make positive contributions. We have further increased production guidance at Kumba Iron Ore as we continue to improve our broader productivity performance. In Platinum, we have taken necessary steps to remove unprofitable ounces from production as we focus on value over volume.”

An Anglo American production report indicates that thermal coal production decreased by 15% due to operating challenges at Khwezela, a 100-hour safety stoppage across all the South African coal operations in August and weather related stoppages at Cerrejón. Metallurgical coal production increased by 8% as Grosvenor delivered strong production through successful management of geological challenges and completion of its first longwall panel.

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Dark days as Aviation industry collapses

22nd November 2020
Air Botswana

As the Aviation industry takes a COVID-19 pummeling, for Africa the numbers are staggering, Chief Executive Officer of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac has observed.

Speaking recently at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has been hosting an Annual General Assembly, de Juniac said traffic is down 89% and revenue loses are expected to reach $6 billion. And this figure is likely to be revised downwards in the next forecast to be released later this month. “But the impact is much broader. The consequences of the breakdown in connectivity are severe,” he surmised.

According to de Juniac, five million African livelihoods are at risk while aviation-supported GDP could fall by as much as $37 billion. That’s a 58% fall.

“We have a health crisis. And it is evolving into a jobs and economic disaster. Fixing it is beyond the scope of what the industry can do by itself.”

He said they need governments to act, “And act fast to prevent a calamity.”

“We are in the middle of the biggest crisis our industry has ever faced. As leaders of Africa’s aviation industry, you know that firsthand. Airline revenues have collapsed. Fleets are grounded. And you are taking extreme actions just to survive. We all support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our duty and we will prevail. But policymakers must know that this has come at a great cost to jobs, individual freedoms and entire economies,” he said.

de Juniac used the AFRA general assembly platform to amplify IATA’s call for governments to address two top priorities: “The first is unblocking committed financial relief. Airlines will go bust without it. Already four African carriers have ceased operations and two are in administration. Without financial relief, many others will follow.”

Over US$31 billion in financial support has been pledged by African governments, international finance bodies and other institutions, including the African Development Bank, the African Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Unfortunately de Juniac pointed out, in his words, “Pledges do not pay the bills. And little of this funding has materialized. And let me emphasize that, while we are calling for relief for aviation, this is an investment in the future of the continent. It will need financially viable airlines to support the economic recovery from COVID-19.”

The second priority, according to IATA is to safely re-open borders using testing and without quarantines.

“People have not lost their desire to travel. Border closures and travel restrictions make it effectively impossible. Forty-four countries in Africa have opened their borders to regional and international air travel. In 20 of these countries, passengers are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Who would travel under such conditions?” de Juniac quizzed rhetorically.

He suggested that countries should adopt systematic testing before departure provides a safe alternative to quarantine and a solution to stop the economic and social devastation being caused by COVID-19.

He admitted that it’s a frightening time for everyone, not least the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on a functioning airline industry. Right now, de Juniac said there essentially is no airline industry. He cited the example that China’s largest airlines sound optimistic, but in a vague way. “They gave no hard data about current yields, loads, or forward bookings, discussing only developments in 2019. Boy, does that seem like ages ago.”

Aviation’s darkest days

The IATA CEO said these are the darkest days in aviation’s history. “But as leaders of this great industry I know that you will share with me continued confidence in the future.

Our customers want to fly. They desire the exploration that aviation enables. They need to do international business that aviation facilitates. And they long to reunite with family and loved ones.”

He said the industry will, no doubt, be changed by this crisis, but flying will return. “Airlines will be back in the skies. The resilience of our industry has been proven many times. We will rise again,” he said.

de Juniac said Aviation is a business of freedom. “For Africa that is the freedom to develop and thrive. And that is not something people on this continent will forget or lose their desire for.”

 

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Inflation increased to 2.2% in October 2020

22nd November 2020

Headline inflation increased from 1.8 percent in September to 2.2 percent in October 2020, but remained below the lower bound of the Bank’s medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent, and lower than the 2.4 percent in October 2019.

According to Statistics Botswana, the increase in inflation between September and October 2020 mainly reflects the upward adjustment in domestic fuel prices {Transport (from -3.9 to -2.5 percent)}, which is estimated to have increased inflation by approximately 0.29 percentage points.

“There was also a rise in the annual price increase for most categories of goods and services: Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (from 6.2 to 6.6 percent); Clothing and Footwear (from 2.5 to 2.7 percent); Communications (from 0.6 to 0.9 percent); Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels (from 6.4 to 6.6 percent); Recreation and Culture (from 0 to 0.2 percent); Miscellaneous Goods and Services (from 0.7 to 0.9 percent); Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (from 4.2 to 4.3 percent); and Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Maintenance (from 2 to 2.1 percent). Inflation remained stable for: Education (4.7 percent); Restaurants and Hotels (3 percent); and Health (1.5 percent). Similarly, the 16 percent trimmed mean inflation and inflation excluding administered prices rose from 1.8 percent and 3.1 percent to 2.2 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, in the same period.”

[Source: Bank of Botswana]

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BDC injects further P64 million into Kromberg & Schubert

22nd November 2020
BDC

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has to date pumped a total of P100 million into the expansion of Kromberg and Schubert, a car harnessing manufacturing company, operating from Gaborone Old Naledi.

At the official ground breaking ceremony of the company‘s new warehouse today, BDC Managing Director, Cross Kgosidiile revealed the wholly state owned investment corporation has pumped P64 million into the expansion which entailed building of the new warehouse.

Kgosidiile explained that this follows another expansion project which was successfully launched in 2017, in which BDC invested P36 million, bringing the total investment into Kromberg at P100 million. The MD also acknowledged Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) as a partner in the project and for having facilitated the acquisition of the land.

 

Giving a keynote address, Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Peggy Serame highlighted the importance of infrastructural development in growing the local manufacturing sector and transforming the economy of Botswana.

Serame underscored the value of strategic partnerships between Government and the private sector, noting that when the two work together and pull together in one direction results will be evident and jobs will be created.

“With the prevailing conditions of depressed economy occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, government is reliant on entities like BDC to bring in revenue and acceleration of private sector development in line with its mandate and strategic plan. This plan is supported by the need to invest in growth sectors and accelerate the implementation of the Economic Diversification Drive,” Serame said.

Minister Serame noted that the partnership between BDC and Kromberg & Schubert begun in 2017 when the P36 million, 4100 square metres factory expansion for the company was launched.

 

She said the launch of the 7320 square meters factory expansion, to be built at the tune of P64 million signals the continuation of the good partnership between the two companies.

 

“I must commend BDC for their continuous efforts to build partnerships with the private sector geared towards contributing to economic development of this country.”

 

Minister Serame also added that BITC through its robust investor aftercare programme continues to provide value added and red carpet to Kromberg and Schubert under their One Stop Service Centre.

 

“In this regard BITC facilitated acquisition of land to enable this expansion. I therefore would like to commend BITC for their timely facilitation to make this expansion possible,” the minister said.

 

Kromberg & Schubert was incorporated in Botswana in 2009; The Company has grown to asset its position as a significant player in the regional automotive industry value chain.

 

The company is also a critical player in the economic development of Botswana, it currently employs 2100 Batswana across its operations. Kromberg exports on average P2.0 billion worth of goods annually, contributing significantly to foreign exchange.

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