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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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Pan-African risk advisor Minet Group and Botswana’s Africa Lighthouse Capital acquire Aon Botswana

21st May 2021
Pan-African-risk-advisor-Minet-Group-

Strategic partnership offers inherent benefits of global knowledge, African insights, and local expertise and commitment

Minet Group and Africa Lighthouse Capital today announced that they have received regulatory approval and fulfilled all requirements to acquire Aon’s shareholding in Aon Botswana, and consequently will begin the process to rebrand to Minet Botswana.

Minet Group is a well-known and trusted pan-African risk advisory firm and Aon’s largest Global Network Correspondent and has been rapidly expanding its African footprint since 2017 through the acquisition of operations from global professional services firm Aon in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.   Minet has been delivering world class products and services across Africa for over 70 years.

Africa Lighthouse Capital (ALC) is a leading Botswana citizen-owned private equity firm focused on investing in Botswana companies and propelling them into regional champions, with over BWP 500 million in funds under management.

The new entity will be rebranded to Minet and will inherit deeply rooted respect by its clients for their innovative and locally relevant solutions, responsiveness, and efficient processes. Furthermore, it shall have the benefit of consistency in leadership and staffing, with Barnabas Mavuma, previously Managing Director of Aon Botswana, continuing to lead the business as the MD supported by the local management team.

 “The addition of Minet Botswana to our growing African network affirms our belief in the great opportunities for growth that Africa offers, driven by rising consumer demand, huge investment in infrastructure and quick adoption of new technology,” says Joe Onsando, CEO at Minet Group.

“This transaction significantly adds to the diversity and skills base of our team and will have a positive impact on the range of products and services we provide. Our Correspondent agreement with Aon gives us access to global expertise and data driven insights and uniquely positions us to deliver risk advisory solutions that reduce volatility, thus driving improved performance for our clients. This is a very exciting time to be Minet in Africa.”

“The significantly increased Botswana citizen shareholding effected by this transaction gives rise to an exciting era of local market focus and growth for Minet Botswana,” says Bame Pule, Founder and CEO of Africa Lighthouse Capital.  “We intend to work with Minet Botswana’s local management team to further localise the business in terms of product development, while at the same time investing in local skills development and business development.  We look forward to this exciting journey, which will result in a significantly enhanced service offering for Minet Botswana’s clients.”

Consequently, and similar to the other members of the Minet Group, Minet Botswana becomes an Aon Global Network Correspondent, retaining its access to Aon’s resources, technology, and best practises, combined with the benefit of independent, local agility. This transaction furthermore significantly increases local shareholding, enabling operations to become even nimbler and better positioned to unlock new and existing growth opportunities.

Clients of Minet Botswana will experience continuity of product and service delivery standards in the short term. In the near future, they can expect an enhanced offering that combines agility with technology and product innovation, tailormade for their specific needs.

Together, Minet and ALC bring a sound understanding of local market conditions, strong governance, and an established track record in the region. These qualities, combined with Aon’s global capabilities and expertise, will bring clear benefits for clients.

This transaction vastly increases citizen ownership with shareholders who are going to be active in the business. The transfer of equity interests in Botswana to investors with local and regional expertise, presence and commitment will allow the businesses to move quickly in line with market movements, and to introduce products that are tailored to the local market.

“Minet’s commitment and drive to incessantly adapt to changing market conditions, and to innovate to meet the unique insurance demands of the African continent, while maintaining the high standards customers have come to expect – Onsando concludes – will continue to grow and give Minet a powerful competitive edge within the African market”.

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Africa scores $285 Billion IMF deal

21st May 2021
IMF-Managing-Director-Kristalina-Georgieva

French President Emmanuel Macron received 21 Heads of state and government officials from Africa during the recent summit on the Financing of African Economies that focused on Africa to take full advantage of the tectonic shifts in the global economy and the call for a joint effort for financial and vaccination support for the continent.

President Emmanuel Macron stressed that “Most regions of the world are now launching massive post-pandemic recovery plans, using their huge monetary and fiscal instruments. But most African economies suffer the lack of adequate capacities and such instruments to do the same. We cannot afford leaving the African economies behind.

We, the Leaders participating to the Summit, in the presence of international organizations, share the responsibility to act together and fight the great divergence that is happening between countries and within countries.

This requires collective action to build a very substantial financial package, to provide a much-needed economic stimulus as well as the means to invest for a better future. Our ambition is to address immediate financing needs, to strengthen the capacity of African governments to support a strong and sustainable economic recovery and to reinforce the vibrant African private sector, as a long-term growth driver for Africa.”

For her part, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva highlighted that “there is urgency to focus on financing Africa. Last year, the pandemic-caused recession shrank the GDP of the Continent by 1.9 percent – the worst performance on record. This year, we project global growth at 6 percent, but only half that 3.2 percent for Africa.” Adding that Africa needs to grow faster than the world at 7 to 10 percent to meet the aspirations of its youthful populations, and become more prosperous and more secure.

Georgieva revealed that the price tag on the shot is estimated to be “$285 billion through 2025. Of this $135 billion is for low-income countries. This is the bare minimum. To do more – to get African nations back on their previous path of catching up with wealthy countries – will cost roughly twice as much. These are large numbers. They may seem out of reach. But to quote Nelson Mandela: impossible until it is done.”

The main areas of interest to achieve this include; first, end the pandemic everywhere, 40 percent of the population of all countries is targeted to get vaccinated by the end of 2021, and at least 60 percent by mid-2022.

Second, bilateral and multilateral development financing grants and concessional loans ought to go up. Over the last year, the IMF have swiftly ramped their financing for the Continent, including providing 13 times their average annual lending to sub-Saharan Africa. And are working to do much more. The IMF has also received support to increase access limits so they can scale up their zero-interest lending capacity through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.

The IMF has also devised exceptional measures. Their membership backs an unprecedented new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of $650 billion, by far the largest in their history. Once approved, which is intended to be achieved by the end of August, it will directly and immediately make about $33 billion available to African members. It will boost their reserves and liquidity, without adding to their debt burden.

Over the course of the last year, the IMF has built experience in facilitating the on lending of SDRs – thus managing to triple their concessional lending capacity as a result.

The Third being, actions at home. According to Georgieva “a crisis is an opportunity for transformational domestic reforms that increase domestic revenue, improve public services, and strengthen governance. For instance, digitalization can improve tax administration and revenue collection, and the quality of public spending. And with radical transparency, Africa can tap into new sources of finance – such as carbon offsets.

There is ample scope for countries to encourage private investment, including in social and physical infrastructure. New IMF research, published today, highlights that domestic and international investors could provide at least 3 percent of GDP per year of additional financing by the end of this decade.”

Reforms of international taxation can also support Africa’s growth. For a long time, the IMF has been in favor of minimum corporate tax rates to reduce the race to the bottom and tax avoidance. And they strongly support an international agreement on digital tax, something France has been a leading voice for. It is important to secure fair distribution of tax revenues, so they can contribute to closing Africa’s financial gap.

Georgieva called on to each and every one to step up. Reminding the attendees that from history they are all familiar with what a shock of this magnitude can do if not countered forcefully and effectively.

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Indian COVID-19 variant hits Botswana diamond sales

20th May 2021
Indian-Covid--19-variant-hit-rough-diamonds-sales---De-Beers-

De Beers’ Group, the world’s number one diamond producer by value, this week attributed the downfall of its sales for the fourth cycle week to the second wave of the Covid-19 variant (B.1.617.2) which was first discovered in India.

Diamond trading conditions have been hit by the Covid-19 crisis in India which is a major cutting and polishing centre for the world’s diamond trade.

The outbreak of the new variant has led to a humanitarian crisis with 280, 284 fatalities of the disease reported.

The London headquartered company said the sales in its fourth cycle fell to $380m (about P4.1 billion) down from $450m (about P4.8 billion) in the third cycle though it was higher than the fifth cycles of last year when the group shifted only $56m (P600 million).

De Beers emphasized that they continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the fourth sales cycle of 2021, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

The De Beers group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bruce Cleaver said the company continues to see robust demand for diamond jewellery in the key US and China consumer markets.

“However, the scale of the second wave of Covid-19 in India, where the majority of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished, has led to reduced midstream capacity and subsequently lower rough diamond demand, during what is already a seasonally slower time of year for midstream purchases,” said Cleaver.

Meanwhile Botswana health officials have confirmed the new Covid-19 variant in Botswana. The Ministry of Health and Wellness -through a press statement- informed members of the public that the variant (B.1.617), was confirmed in Botswana on 13th May 2021.

According to Christopher Nyanga, spokesperson at the Ministry, this followed a case investigation within Greater Gaborone, involving people of Indian origin who arrived in the country on the 24th April 2021.

Moreover the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting that the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.

The India variant (B.1.617.2) – is one of four mutated versions of the coronavirus which has been designated as being “of concern” by transitional public health bodies, with others first being identified in Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

Nevertheless when speaking at Bank of America Global Metals and Mining conference, Anglo American Chief Executive Officer, Mark Cutifani said the company portfolio is increasingly tilted towards future enabling products and those that need to decarbonise energy and transport in order to meet consumers’ needs – from home appliances, electronics and infrastructure, to food and luxury goods.

“We see material opportunity for Anglo American to continue to set itself apart in terms of the performance of our diversified business, further enhanced through sector-leading 25% volume growth over the next four years, led by copper and the platinum group metals,” said Cutifani.

“Most importantly, as the supplier of such critical materials, it is the duty of our industry to ensure that in everything we do, we act responsibly and deliver enduring value for our full breadth of stakeholders, including our planet.”

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