Botswana is moving ahead with plans to build a state-of-the art diamond cutting facility — at a time when declining diamond sales are threatening the jobs of thousands of miners.
Government officials see the facility, which will expand the types of diamond processing in Botswana, as a path to economic diversity, reports The Voice of Francistown.
Even as the officials rave about the possibilities of the high tech diamond park, its Debswana Diamond Company — a joint venture with South Africa’s De Beers Group — is meeting with the mine workers union to discuss mine closings and layoffs throughout the country.
Worldwide diamond sales are down in the face of the global recession, and Botswana’s economy is hurting.
Diamond mining is Botswana’s economic mainstay, and the source of most of the country’s funding for development and public health.
“Botswana: Job Losses as Diamonds Lose Their Lustre”
IRIN (United Nations), February 9, 2009
“Botswana: Phase One of Diamond Technology Park Launched”
The Voice (Botswana), February 10, 2009