Government, miners and manufacturers discuss sustainability.
The International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) has held a special manufacturing debate with its Botswana stakeholders at the launch of its 2011 meeting.
This year’s meeting has been held for the first time in Botswana, the largest diamond producing country in the world. The IDMA, which represents diamond manufacturers worldwide, officially opened the meeting following a debate entitled the Diamond Beneficiation Pitso, which saw high ranking government officials, diamond miners and manufacturers, as well as industry analysts and academics, discuss and present their ideas how to build sustainable beneficiation of diamonds in Botswana.
In his opening address, IDMA president Moti Ganz said the reason for IDMA to opt for Gaborone for the meeting’s location was that Botswana is expected to become an important destination of choice for industry players, from mine to market, as the country is taking steps to develop a profitable value chain and with it a long term sustainable diamond economy that will take the country and all the industry’s participants forward.
"We’re gathering in Botswana because we believe a competitive diamond industry and trade can be developed here in the future. The Pitso offered our organization’s members a first opportunity for an exchange of views and I believe this event has been a true eye opener for many of our peers." Ganz said.
Th IDMA meeting is hosted jointly by the Botswana Diamond Manufacturers Association (BDMA) and the Botswana government. BDMA President Mervin Lifshitz said that the idea to hold the Pitso meeting had been suggested by Dr. P.H.K. Kedikilwe, Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources, who is now also Acting Vice President of Botswana.
The Pitso was co-moderated by Letsema Mbayi, a doctoral student from Botswana who is writing her Phd thesis on beneficiation in London, and Chaim Even Zohar, an internationally renowned industry analyst, commentator and conference facilitator.
Most speakers recognized that the 16 diamond factories in the country, which employ some 3,000 direct production workers, have developed solely on the basis of rough diamond availability rather than for its international competitiveness.
The IDMA meeting in Botswana is expected to deepen the Batswana people and government understanding of the complexities and challenges of diamond manufacturing and the need for factories to operate within internationally, vertically organized value chains.