Modern Mining February 2019
Lourenço in Angola to discuss the country’s diamond sector last year and had positive discussions about the future of the country’s diamond sector. Angola is making many posi- tive changes, and while there is nothing further to report at this stage, we look forward to con- tinuing the positive dialogue. De Beers Group has a long and proud his- tory of working with partner governments in Africa in a responsible and sustainable man- ner, and we are proud to have been able to play a role in supporting our partners as they seek to develop their economies through diamonds. We see Africa as an excellent destination for exploration and mine development. Of course, any investor requires stability and predictabil- ity in the areas where they seek to invest, but we have had very positive experiences working with our partners and are proud to have been an organisation to have enjoyed mutual success with government partners in the continent. De Beers has reportedly started a trial programme to work with small-scale miners in Sierra Leone. What is the exact nature of this initiative and how is it progressing? GemFair, as the initiative is known, aims to establish a secure, transparent route to market for ethically-sourced artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) diamonds using bespoke technol- ogy. The proposed solution combines dedicated software (an app) and hardware (diamond ‘tool- kit’) that enables the digital tracking of ASM diamonds throughout the supply chain and addresses key challenges and risks relating to artisanal mining activity. Our approach also requires participants to commit to abiding by a set of audited standards that ensures mining is carried out in an ethical manner. By providing artisanal and small-scale min- ers with access to De Beers’ industry-leading distribution channel, offering fair prices and working with NGOs to improve standards, we hope GemFair will improve livelihoods and working conditions for the sector, while fos- tering the sector’s development as a credible and trusted source of diamond supply. The pilot is running in Sierra Leone initially, where significant progress has already been made in formalising the artisanal mining sector, and we have already started to see positive progress with GemFair. These are still early days for the pilot, but we have been encouraged by what we have been able to achieve so far. You are on record as saying that De Beers might have to look at developing smaller dia- mond deposits given the dearth of major new MM BC MM
kimberlite discoveries. What would your response be to those who say that De Beers does not have the ‘mindset’ to successfully develop and run smaller operations? Over the history of De Beers Group we have had successful experience of running a number of different types of assets, with dif- ferent scale, different approaches to mining, different locations and different operational challenges. As the industry progresses, we continue to look at what best suits our own portfolio and how best we could maximise our commercial performance as well as our posi- tive impact in producer countries. While we currently have larger scale opera- tions in our portfolio, we are an efficient and agile business with a range of capabilities and an innovative mindset, so I know that we have the right skills to be able to develop and run different types of deposits that we think are a good fit with our portfolio. Photos courtesy of De Beers BC
View of part of the plant at Debswana’s Orapa mine in Botswana. Orapa, which is on a similar scale to Jwaneng, was commis- sioned in 1971. It was the first diamond mine to be opened in Botswana.
Bruce Cleaver – a veteran of the De Beers Group Bruce Cleaver was appointed CEO of De Beers Group in mid-2016. He joined De Beers in 2005 and was first appointed to the Board of De Beers plc as Commercial Director in July 2008. As Executive Head of Strategy and Business Development for De Beers (2011-2015), he played a central role in shaping the direction of the busi- ness, including the development of corporate strategy, leading De Beers’ sales agreement negotiations with key governments and guiding all group mergers and acquisition activities. Cleaver led the reshaping of De Beers’ mining portfolio, creating the De Beers Technologies unit, and delivering on De Beers’ commitments to its government partners. He also led the successful relocation of Global Sightholder Sales from London to Botswana in 2013. Before joining De Beers, he was a partner at Webber Wentzel, Africa’s largest law firm, specialising in commercial matters, where he won several awards. He holds a BSc in Applied Maths and an LLB from the University of Cape Town, as well as an LLM from Cambridge.
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