Jwaneng diamond
mine “’ undergoing US$3.4
billion expansion
 
Gaborone, Botswana — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 October 2010 – The government of Botswana’s trade account swung into surplus for the first time in 20 months in June as sales of diamonds rose significantly, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The release said that the trade account had recorded a surplus of US$31 million, with diamond exports up 55% in June to US$401 billion, compared to May.

Total exports were at US$535 million, compared with USD505 billion earlier, generating the first trade surplus since September 2008.

“The steep increase in exports, coupled with the noticeable trade surplus, could be a sign of recovery in exports which were seriously affected by the economic crunch,” the CSO said.

Botswana, the largest diamond producer in the world, was mired in a recession last year as diamonds exports “’ which rake in 70% of its foreign exchange earnings “’ plunged. Officials expect Botswana’s economy to grow by about 4.5% this year, much more conservative than the International Monetary Fund’s estimate of 8.4%.

Debswana “’ the joint mining company partnership between the government and the De Beers group “’ scaled down production from 33 million carats in 2008 to 17 million carats in 2009 as demand for luxury goods plummeted.

The company, which, recently embarked on a long-term US$3.4 billion expansion of its flagship Jwaneng mine, has increased its production target to 23 million carats, from an initial estimate of 20 million carats for this year.