Debswana has mixed expectations for the 2015 financial year as the credit squeeze experienced in the rough gemstones market globally continues to bite.
Addressing the media this week the Chief Executive Officer, Balisi Bonyongo said towards the end of 2014-2015 Debswana experienced a slowdown owing to the happenings in the rough diamond market.
“What we should understand is that volatility in the market place is now part of the way we work and we have to adjust to it because things can change anytime,” said Bonyongo.
The slowdown in the rough diamond market has been precipitated by various factors that include India manufacturing below capacity due to liquidity pressures and the rising strength of the USD against the Rupee. The margin squeezed in the mid-stream as rough diamond prices increase ahead of polished diamonds.
Bonyongo underscored that to survive in this volatile uncertain world they are working hard to position the business to be agile and flexible.
“To survive in the uncertain global market we have improved our productivity and operations. Our business has inbuilt flexibility to respond to challenges or opportunities in the market. We have ensured that we have a robust balance sheet to withstand shocks,” Bonyongo said.
The first half of 2015 is expected to be tough however Bonyongo said they are optimistic that the second half will show signs of improvement.
Debswana is the world's leading producer of gem diamonds, contributing about 30% of world output by value from four mines that is Jwaneng, Orapa, Damtshaa and Letlhakane mines.
For the 2014 financial year Debswana experienced success across all fronts of business.Revenue went up by 31 percent. Bonyongo said Debswana made record sales revenue on the back of strong demand and a favourable exchange rate.
No fatalities were recorded in 2014 and the total recordable injury frequency rate reached an all-time low in the history of Debswana sitting at 0.46. Lost time to injuries went down by 48 percent for the 2013-14 period.
Bonyongo said Cut 8 waste mining reached its peak of 82 million. As such they have stripped over 50 percent of the 500 million tonnes of waste required to expose ore.
Carat production remained flat at 20-24 million carats in line with market demand .However Debswana expects the carat production to increase in future to around 23-26 million.
Plans are underway to ensure that in the next five years major projects at Jwaneng and Orapa mine are undertaken to unlock full potential of horizon 2 of their strategy.
Debswana is said to have procured 83 percent of its goods and services over the past five years from local companies.80 per cent of the total spent was on general plant maintenance services, explosives, fuels and lubricants, and contract mining. It also included earth moving machinery and spares, services mining repairs and maintenance, as well as tyres for earth moving vehicles.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.