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More spectacularly large diamonds at Karowe

With an approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs for the extraction of samples from the BK02 kimberlite, Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond, is upbeat the permit acquired will help maintain its industry enviable  reputation of covering exceptionally large diamonds from its Karowe mine.

Spectacular diamond finds just keep coming from the Lucara’s Karowe Mine in Botswana. The latest discoveries include a 336-carat, type IIa stone as well as diamonds weighing 184 carats, 94 carats and 86 carats..Over the past three years, since the recovery of the first large diamond from the mine, Lucara has recovered 216 diamonds that have sold for more than $250,000 each.

Twelve of these diamonds sold for more than $5 million each. Lucara Diamond Corp.’s first 2015 tender of exceptional stones from the Karowe mine realized $68.71 million or $41,028 per carat (p/c). The special tender of Karowe diamonds consisted of 14 single stone lots, totaling 1,674 carats.

The highlight of the sale was a 341.9-carat Type IIa diamond that sold for $20.55 million, or $60,114 p/c. Another high value stone was a 269.7-carat diamond that sold for $16.54 million or $61,304 p/c. Twelve of the diamonds sold for more than $1 million, including five stones that were sold for in excess of $4 million.

The amazing result was hailed by the company president William Lamb as demonstrating not just the sustainable quality of the diamonds being produced, but also the robustness of the exceptional stone market.
 
At the time, Lucara president William Lamb was happy that “the sales values achieved for the two large stones demonstrates the quality of diamonds which the south lobe is producing.”

 Lucara has also announced the recovery of a 12-carat pale pink diamond whose colour will be confirmed once it has been cleaned. The ongoing recovery of large exceptional diamonds from the Karowe mine is said to continue to support the resource estimates.
 
 Lamb says the resource has consistently produced significant value for the company and its shareholders and the ongoing recovery of high value stones sets Lucara apart from most other diamond producers."

The Karowe Mine is based on the AK6 kimberlite pipe, which is part of the Orapa Kimberlite Field ("OKF") in Botswana. The bedrock of the region is covered by a thin veneer of wind-blown Kalahari sand and exposure is very poor. Rocks close to surface are often extensively calcretised and silcretised due to prolonged exposure on a late Tertiary erosion surface (the African Surface) which approximates to the present day land surface.


IDEX online reports that a bulk sample has been constructed and commissioned and it is expected that exploration sample processing will commence in November, with initial results to follow before the end of the year.
 
The sample is anticipated to be around 5,000 tons, and the contract for extraction and transport is already in place, with earth moving equipment being mobilized at the BK02 kimberlite within the next two weeks.
 
The company was awarded two high-potential exploration licenses in 2014, which are known to host at least three diamondiferous kimberlites – BK02, AK11 and AK12. Applications for mineral extraction from AK11 and AK12 are in progress.
 

Lamb is excited that the receipt of the permits is a positive step forward in the company’s resource extension campaign. “|We are excited about the prospects of these licenses based on the historical work which had previously been conducted on the property,"  IDEX online quotes president and CEO William Lamb
 

The OKF lies on the northern edge of the Central Kalahari Karoo Basin along which the Karoo succession dips very gently to the SSW and off-laps against the Precambrian rocks which occur at shallow depth within the Makgadikgadi Depression.

The OKF includes at least 83 kimberlite bodies, varying in size from insignificant dykes to the 110 ha AK1 kimberlite which is Debswana's Orapa Mine. All kimberlite intrusions are of post-Karoo age.

Of the 83 known kimberlite bodies, five (AK1, BK9, DK1, DK2 and AK6 which is the Karowe Mine) have been or are currently being mined, and a further four (BK1, BK11, BK12 and BK15) are recognized as potentially economic deposits.



The country rock at the Karowe Mine is sub-outcropping flood basalt of the Stormberg Lava Group (approximately 130 m thick on the Karowe property) which is underlain by a condensed sequence of Upper Carboniferous to Triassic sedimentary rocks of the Karoo Supergroup(approximately 245 m thick on the Karowe property).

The Karoo sequence overlies granitic basement.

 AK6 is a roughly north-south elongate kimberlite body with a near surface expression of ~3.3 ha and a maximum area of approximately 7 ha at ~120 m below surface. The body comprises three geologically distinct, coalescing pipes that taper with depth.

These pipes are referred to as the North Lobe, Centre Lobe, and South Lobe.

 The AK6 kimberlite is an opaque-mineral-rich monticellite kimberlite, texturally classified primarily as fragmental volcaniclastic kimberlite with lesser macrocrystic hypabyssal facies kimberlite of the Group 1 variety.

The nature of the kimberlite differs between each lobe, with distinctions apparent in the textural characteristics, relative proportion of internal country-rock dilution, and degree or extent of weathering. The South Lobe is considered to be distinctly different from the North and Centre Lobes which are similar to each other in terms of their geological characteristics.

The North and Centre Lobes exhibit internal textural complexity (reflected in apparent variations in degree of fragmentation and proportions of country-rock xenoliths) whereas the bulk of the South Lobe is more massive and internally homogeneous.



The upper parts of all three lobes contain severely calcretised and silcretised rock. This zone is typically approximately 10 m in thickness, but can be up to 20 m in places. Beneath the calcrete and silcrete, the kimberlite is highly weathered.

The intensity of weathering decreases with depth with fresh kimberlite generally intersected at about 70 m to 90 m below present day surface.

A unit within the South Lobe (a variety of M/PK(S)) has been found to be hard, and to produce a very large DMS concentrate primarily as a consequence of an abundance of fresh olivine in the kimberlite update on its new exploration assets located on trend with the Company's Karowe Mine in Botswana.

The Company was awarded two high-potential exploration licences in 2014. These licences host at least three known diamondiferous kimberlites, BK02, AK11 and AK12.

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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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