JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A diamond is forever when we all work together, new De Beers Group CEO Al Cook opined sagaciously in his welcome address at the grand opening of De Beers’ Sightholder Sales South Africa at Sky Park, close to the OR Tambo International Airport.
De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa officially unveiled its new rough diamond sorting, valuation and sales facility on May 19 at an event attended by Mineral Resources and Energy the Minister Gwede Mantashe and Gauteng Economic Development MEC Tasneem Motara.
De Beers announced in January that it was relocating its sightholder sales activities in South Africa from Kimberley, where it has been operating since 1974, to Johannesburg following a review of its sorting activities in South Africa.
The relocation supports the government’s strategy to consolidate the country’s mineral beneficiation sector into one area at the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone, close to the international airport.
The relocation also supports the company’s evolving footprint in the country over the past decade, with the world class Venetia mine in the Limpopo province being its only active mine, the Anglo American company stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.
With no mining activities in the Northern Cape since 2015, De Beers is consolidating its remaining operations to be in close proximity to provide efficiency in operating costs, greater effectiveness and to contribute towards the country’s national beneficiation agenda.
Eighty seven employees have been relocated from Kimberley to the new 6 747 m2 facility in Sky Park, which has two floors comprising sightholder offices, hand and machine sorting areas, a training academy and a diamond cleaning plant.
“Whilst we congratulate De Beers for the grand opening of the sightholder sales facility, we also welcome the R35-billion investment in the underground mining in Limpopo. We encourage you to continue investing in South African mining, particularly in the Northern Cape and other provinces. Doing so will help us change the economic architecture, which stands on three legs Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape,” Mantashe highlighted.
The new facility is part of the global sightholder sales network that sells rough diamonds for beneficiation purposes in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada.
It is also responsible for the distribution of De Beers rough diamonds in South Africa and seeks to support the industry at large in maintaining a sustainable diamond manufacturing industry through its beneficiation strategy.
The beneficiation strategy is aligned to the South Africa government’s local beneficiation objectives and engages in a range of activities that aim to support and further the country’s economic goals. These include skills development, enterprise development, industry development, as well as marketing and promotion of South Africa abroad.
Sightholder Sales South Africa has nine sightholders that it sells rough diamonds to ten times a year.
The consistent and predictable supply of rough diamonds to South African sightholders supports their ability to invest in local cutting and polishing factories and together, they have employed 620 cutters and polishers since 2020.
Last year, De Beers Group and several key industry players – including the SA Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator, SA Diamond Manufacturers Association, SA Diamond Dealers Club and the State Diamond Trader – partnered to launch a Small Beneficiator Customers pilot programme with seven identified cutting and polishing businesses receiving assistance.