Botswana holds first diamond auctions on home turf

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De Beers set to move diamond tender to Gaborone later in 2013.

Botswana is holding its first ever diamond auction on home turf, welcoming about 12 international buyers to a two-week tender.

According to a report by the BBC, this is the first time that the diamond-producing country has opted not to sell its stones at auction in Europe.

Instead the government-owned diamond company Okavango has chosen to hold a diamond auction in Botswana’s capital Gaborone. It is understood that De Beers is also planning to move some of its sales to Gaborone later this year.

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According to the BBC report about "a dozen" diamond buyers from around the world attended the Okavango auction with the Botswana government hoping that its diamond sales operations will bring "more value-added jobs to the diamond sector, including clerical and jewellery-making work".

It is believed that De Beers relocation of its sales operation later in the year will create sales of about $6bn (£4bn) worth of diamonds a year in Gaborone.

The move follows the recent decision by the Zambian government to restrict auctions of Zambian gemstones to Zambia only, in a bid to bring business and tourism to the country. The move has come up against campaigns from the likes of Gemfields to ease the restrictions on gem sales.
 

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