Botswana looking to technology to boost diamond industry, says president

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Botswana is the largest diamond producer in the world. But with global advancement in innovation, President Masisi has called on diamond-producing nations to invest in technology to ensure the sustainability of the industry.

The President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, has stated the need for diamond-producing nations to incorporate technology into the sector to foster sustainability. President Masisi was speaking at the FACETS Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer by value.

The FACETS Conference was initiated by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in 2022 to provide a platform for inclusive dialogue between industry players from across the value chain to address challenges and opportunities set to drive the industry in the future. Delivering his address, Masisi stated that diamond-producing nations should invest in research and development efforts that would minimise the impact of diamond mining on the environment.

“From drone-assisted surveying to advanced water management systems, these innovations are not just investments; they are our commitment to preserving the natural world for generations to come,” he said.

Additionally, to tackle the problem of conflict diamonds finding their way into markets, President Masisi stated the need to employ blockchain technology for diamond tracing. “Blockchain technology, with its immutable ledger, can provide consumers with the guarantee that their diamonds have been ethically sourced,” he added. “Emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, [also] hold promise in diamond processing. Nanodiamonds, tiny diamond particles, have a range of applications from medical imaging to quantum computing.”

Early this year, President Masisi’s administration announced plans to purchase a 24% stake in Belgium-headquartered diamond manufacturer HB Antwerp which describes itself as “Antwerp’s savoir-faire with the power of technology to create a whole new ecosystem for the natural diamond trade”. Some of its proprietary technologies include an automated diamond polishing robot, a blockchain-based diamond tracker, and a stereo microscope for diamond observation.

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