Swaziland benchmarks on Botswana Diamonds
A Swaziland delegation on a benchmarking mission on Botswana’s development of the subsector through diamonds, returned home last week with renewed optimism of revamping their country’s diamond industry.
Leader of the delegation, Sam Ntshalintshali told The Voice on the sidelines that his country was in the process of opening its diamond mining operations and that Botswana was the best country to model the exercise around.
“Botswana is one country in the region that is leading in the diamond industry. It has models that we think are conducive to the development of the sub-sector through diamonds. It has developed downstream sustainable industry in the way of sorting, cutting and polishing locally. We believe that is a model that is sustainable and we are sure it’ll work for our country.”
Ntshalintshali, a Mining Engineer at the Swaziland Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy said his government was looking at opening a sustainable diamond industry. “We’re looking at a situation whereby the mining operation will be opened with a view that the diamonds produced from there can be cut and polished in Swaziland before they are exported as finished products.”
Swaziland, Ntshalintshali said, does not have any operating mine as it has not had any legislation on the diamond industry and that it only acquired its Kimberly Process (KP) certification scheme last year. “This has paved way for government to now consider applications for mining and prospecting licenses,” he added.
The Swazi delegation also had the chance to meet Botswana Diamond Manufacturers Association (BDMA) members where they were briefed about its operations. BDMA Executive Director, Pauline Paledi-Mokou said the visitors intended to start a similar association in Swaziland and that part of the visit included a familiarization of the diamond mining operations. “We took them through the operations of the association because they ultimately intend to start an association similar to BDMA.
Their itinerary included a visit to the ministry, the Jwaneng mine, DTC one of our Sightholders SAFDICO and have been briefed on how to successfully implement their plans.”
The visitors were given a rundown throughout the pipeline of the diamond industry in the way of the legislation, how licencing is done, how the Kimberley Process issues are aligned to ensure that the office of the minister is adhering and liasing with the industry.