Gem Diamonds Botswana, a full subsidiary of the Gem Diamonds Ltd. group listed on the London stock exchange, is launching commercial production of diamonds by the end of this year. Managing Director Haile Mphusu explains, “We are developing the Ghaghoo Mine, on a deposit which we acquired from De Beers, into an operation maintaining the highest standards of environmental protection, health and safety.”
Haile Mphusu is a graduate of Queen’s University in Canada and of executive programmes at Oxford University and the London Business School, and he brings an international perspective to Gem Diamonds Botswana. “Our production rate of 720,000 tonnes per year to produce some 220,000 carats of diamonds will be reached later this year. Depending on the outcome of initial operations we have the ability to double or triple the operation in two or three years.”
World’s number one diamond address
Gem Diamonds Ltd. targeted Botswana because it is, as Haile Mphusu puts it, the “number one diamond address in the world.” He adds, “We work very closely with Botswana’s government, which has created an environment very conducive to business.”
At Ghaghoo Mine, Gem Diamonds Botswana will offer its diamonds for viewing to customers in both Gaborone, Botswana as well as in Antwerp, Belgium, who will have the opportunity to bid for the goods via a secure electronic tender platform.
Although a new entry to Botswana, Gem Diamonds has a number of competitive advantages these are. As Haile Mphusu points out, “We are already well known and trusted in the market, and we are able to market our diamonds effectively. We also know what buyers are looking for and we are able to give them the assortment of diamonds that is appropriate to them.” The company possesses exceptional technical and marketing skills as well as project-management capabilities. These skills and expertise have seen the Ghaghoo mine established in a remote part of the Kalahari on time and on budget.
While some reports state that Bushmen were relocated from the CKGR to give way for diamond mining, in fact this process has no connection to the present diamond mining at Ghaghoo – for example some families were relocated from areas as far as 130 kilometres from the mine. Moreover, the Gope community co-exists with the mine and they are located less than three kilometres from the mine.
Gem Diamonds Botswana is strongly committed to corporate-social-responsibility projects and has already provided clean drinking water, water-purification systems and support for a primary school in the community. Haile Mphusu concludes, “Botswana must balance protecting its pristine nature and exploiting its mining resources. Gem Diamonds is committed to playing its part in maintaining that balance.”