Botswana's President Festus Mogae stated in a special interview with Mining Weekly that his country aspires to become a polishing center like Antwerp, Jerusalem or Mumbai.
He noted that 16 companies have received polishing licenses and six are already active in the country. He noted that the remaining companies will activate their facilities within three years.
The President noted that Botswana does not require companies to polish diamonds locally even if they were acquired there, but it asks the diamond companies to polish at least part of the diamonds there. He added: "Just as they have factories in New York, London, Antwerp, Mumbai, Thailand and others, they should have a factory here."
Meanwhile, Senior Analyst James Allan noted that in coming years the shortage of diamonds will undoubtedly rise, thus leaving Botswana with a lost revenue of about $460 million. Allan, who addressed a mining conference in Perth, noted that demand will probably grow by 5% annually but the supply of rough is not expected to increase at the same rate.
Allan estimated that while Botswana stands to lose $460 million in 2005-2015, Russia's loss will probably reach $260 million and South Africa's - $160 million.