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De Beers to invest in five BEE diamond cutting firms in South Africa

De Beers, together with the government and the South African diamond cutting industry have launched an Enterprise development project for diamond beneficiators that aims to facilitate the transformation and growth of the diamond cutting and polishing sector in South Africa.

The holistic and developmental programme will work with the selected black South African owned diamond cutting companies. The companies are Kwame Diamonds, Nungu Diamonds, Thoko’s Diamonds, Diamonds Africa and Molefi Letsiki Diamond Holdings.

These diamond cutting companies are new entrants in the sector facing competitive challenges locally and internationally.

The developmental programme has both a transformation aspect and a growth of the sector objective which includes interventions to improve the industry and business knowledge and to foster opportunities to gain experience in rough diamond purchasing, cutting diamonds as well as in the marketing and distribution of finished product into the polished diamond market.

Barend Petersen, chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) outlined the aims of the project on Wednesday afternoon, “De Beers is fully committed to facilitating sustainable growth of the local diamond industry in South Africa”.

However, for beneficiation to succeed here there is a need to involve multiple stakeholders who will bring innovative thinking, skills and resources to ensure that South Africa remains a competitive player in the global diamond industry”, Petersen says.

Mpumi Zikalala, senior vice president of Kimberley-based De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa, and project sponsor says that at the beginning of the year the company embarked on a journey to support a Black Economic Empowerment group of diamond cutters and polishers to develop increasingly more efficient businesses to better compete on the world diamond stage.

“By being engaged in a technical, production and business efficiency mentoring programme with successful South African and international diamond industry leaders the group will strive to achieve what many aspire to”, she says.

De Beers will provide bespoke rough diamond supply to the candidates, whilst they are part of the development programme and upon completion, the candidates can apply to become Accredited Buyers of De Beers before they are ultimately in a position to apply for Sightholder status competing with other leading diamond companies around the world.

The diamond company will continue with its other beneficiation projects such as the Shining Light Awards, support of the Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy in Kimberley, the on-going support of the Diamond Indaba (hosted by the State Diamond Trader) and the Forevermark jewellery programme.