De Beers, Botswana One Step Closer to Finalizing Agreement
The two have signed “heads of terms” for the tentative 10-year sales agreement they reached in June.
In a joint news release issued Sunday, the two said they have signed “heads of terms” for the agreement.
Heads of terms, also known as a letters of intent, are non-binding, pre-sale agreements that outline some of the key points of a deal.
For De Beers and Botswana, the heads of terms provide “additional detail and clarity” to the commercial and operational aspects of the agreement reached in principle earlier this year.
This includes details about the apportionment of Debswana supply, economic arrangements, talent development, beneficiation supply and value chain development, and the “Diamonds for Development Fund,” the fund designed in part to help Botswana grow its economy outside the diamond industry.
A portmanteau of “De Beers” and “Botswana,” Debswana is the joint venture whereby De Beers and Botswana operate diamond mines in the country.
Debswana currently has three active diamond mines, Jwaneng, Orapa, and Letlhakane, and their life expectancies range from 13 years (Jwaneng, 2036) to 20 years (Letlhakane, 2043).
Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, Botswana’s minister of Minerals and Energy, called the heads of terms an “important step forward” in finalizing the new 10-year agreement.
“The new chapter we are embarking on will see more skills development and job creation for Batswana, and more diamond beneficiation locally. As we celebrate our nation’s journey on this 57th Independence Day, this important milestone heralds an exciting new era in Botswana’s development.”
De Beers CEO Al Cook said, “We are very pleased to have signed the heads of terms for an agreement that will deliver large new investments, supporting the country’s development aspirations.
“The agreement also underpins De Beers’ long-term leadership in the diamond industry, securing our equal share in the world’s greatest diamond resources for decades to come.”
De Beers and the Botswana government reached an agreement in principle on a new 10-year sales contract on June 30 following numerous extensions of the current deal.
Under the terms of the new agreement, De Beers and the government will continue to share Debswana’s rough diamond production until 2033, though Botswana will get more diamonds over time.
The agreement calls for the share of Debswana supply sold through the government-owned Okavango Diamond Company to increase from 25 percent to 30 percent to start, gradually growing to 50 percent by the final year of the contract.
The country’s mining licenses will be extended until 2054.
De Beers and Botswana’s joint announcement regarding the progress of the deal comes shortly after Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi noted publicly that the country’s new deal with De Beers was an “agreement in principle” only, not a signed, final contract.
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