Botswana has hinted at the possibility of ending its long-standing relationship with De Beers if it fails to provide a bigger share of rough diamonds to the state-run marketing company Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), reported The Financial Times.
Diamond miner De Beers and the Botswana Government mine diamonds through a joint venture (JV), called Debswana.
The country currently receives 25% of the rough diamonds mined under this JV as part of a 54-year sales deal.
The government now seeks more than this amount during a renewal of their sales agreement scheduled in June, though it has not provided specifics.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi warned that the alliance between the two parties may be affected if De Beers is unable to deliver this amount.
The president also called for more local employment in the diamond industry of the country, which is the second-largest diamond-producing nation globally after Russia.
Diamonds are said to contribute to nearly a third of the GDP of Botswana, which is said to be one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.
The country provides 70% of the rough diamonds of De Beers.
The latest warning follows the government’s recent acquisition of a 24% stake in Belgian diamond trader HB Antwerp.
This deal is being seen as a challenge to the long dominance of Anglo American unit De Beers in the country’s diamond sector.
Speaking to the FT, HB Antwerp co-founder Rafael Papismedov said that the collaboration would enable the country to phase out the existing model of being “stuck in a box that says you can only dig and wash the diamonds”.