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New film on Botswana’s diamonds out

A new film; ‘The Diamonds of Botswana: The Third Fashioncapes’, that captures Botswana as one of the most successful medium-sized economies with more than 80 percent of diamond profits staying within the country, has been released.

The documentary also captures how much of this revenue is channeled to benefit the citizens through free education, healthcare, an expansion of local jobs in the diamond industry.  After working together on The True Cost, named by the international media as one of the 10 most influential fashion documentaries of the last decade, Eco-Age's Livia Firth reunites with acclaimed film director Andrew Morgan for – ‘The Diamonds of Botswana: the third Fashioncapes’ film.

Over the past decade, the Fashionscapes documentary series has seen Livia trace the fashion supply chain across continents, looking at factories and fibre, driven by the search to find production that allows the planet to set the limits.  The third installment, The Diamonds of Botswana, follows Livia Firth as she learns first-hand about the impact of diamond mining in a country that has unearthed some of the world’s most precious stones.

The short-form film, directed by The True Cost director Andrew Morgan, explores whether an industry that is historically contentious can be made to work in favour of the people and planet. The documentary features interviews with many different stakeholders – from the President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi to the first female Managing Director of a mine and a female truck driver.  “Coming to Botswana I was nervous that I would find the imbalance I have witnessed elsewhere,” explained Livia.

“When a single industry generates wealth and has disproportionate power, it can be very dangerous. In Bangladesh and other fast fashion hot spots, I have seen corporations abuse their power over a dependent economy and cut and run without any real exit plan.  “But here in Botswana, I have seen a picture of what can happen when businesses operate in partnership with government and civil society, and long-term investments are made in collaboration with local communities to ensure that the benefits are truly shared with those on the ground.

I came here to look at a single supply chain. I came away from Botswana wondering if this country represents something even bigger – a new vision for doing business and if so, it is certainly something that needs to be protected with integrity and vigilance.”  Acclaimed film director, Andrew Morgan has also dedicated his career to telling stories for a better tomorrow, and the latest Fashionscapes film does just that by shining a light on a truly positive example within the industry.

“After traveling the world to document the very darkest corners of global supply chains, it is a true joy now to partner again with my dear friend Livia as we turn our cameras towards a story of hope and possibility,” said Morgan.  “We are living in a moment of profound change and upheaval, as we continue to see the failure of stories based on exploitation and greed. More than ever we need examples like Botswana, a story of true care and collaboration to benefit all people, not just a few,” he said.

Interviews in the film are mostly focused on local women who have achieved success because of Botswana’s diamond industry.  They include, Lucara Botswana managing director, Naseem Lhari and the first female to run a diamond mining company, Pat Dambe, the vice president of De Beers Group, Susanne Swaniker, chief financial officer of Global Sightholders Sales, De Beers Group, Kgalalelo Mokgweetsi, a community liaison with Lucara Botswana and Chandapiwa Monamati, who operates some of the world’s largest mining trucks in the Debswana Orapa diamond mine.

“When I wear this ring, I have empowered a child. I have empowered a community and a country as a whole. I carry pride with me every time I wear a Botswana diamond,” said Lhari.  Kgalalelo Mokgweetsi said: “A woman in the village will tell you that I am going to school, I am going to the hospital, I am going to university, or I am going to work because of the diamonds. I put food on the table because of the diamonds.”  “One of the highlights of the film is the showing of the 1.758-carat rough diamond name: ‘Sewelo’ – rare find in Tswana. It is the second largest rough diamond ever unearthed. It was mined at the Karowe Mine, which is owned by Lucara Botswana.

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Matsheka seeks raise bond program ceiling to P30 billion

14th September 2020
Dr Matsheka

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.

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Lucara sits clutching onto its gigantic stones with bear claws in a dark pit

14th September 2020
Lesedi La Rona

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.

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Botswana Diamonds issues 50 000 000 shares to raise capital

14th September 2020

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.

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