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Botswana’s Okavango first-half diamond sales up 9 percent

Comments (0) Latest Updates from Reuters

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) sales rose 9 percent to $309 million in the first half of the year as demand improved, its deputy managing director said on Friday.

Marcus ter Haar told Reuters the company had sold 1.8 million carats in five auctions held since January.

“The volumes of carats sold were 3 percent higher than the same period in 2016,” he said.

ODC, which plans to have 10 tenders this year, sells 15 percent of the output of Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American Plc’s De Beers and Botswana, which is targeting production of 20.5 million carats this year.


(Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, editing by David Evans)


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Botswana’s BCL to be sold off piecemeal after sale talks fail

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GABORONE (Reuters) – Collapsed state-owned Botswanan copper and nickel producer BCL Limited will be sold off piecemeal after the company failed to find a buyer, its liquidator said on Friday.

BCL was placed under provisional liquidation in October after the government said it could not afford the 7 billion pula ($685 million) needed to keep the company running.

“Our first priority is to still try and sell BCL as a going concern, but if that fails we can now sell the assets, which include the smelter and the mine shafts, separately,” liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren of KMPG told Reuters.

Botswana’s oldest and biggest copper mine ran into trouble because of low commodity prices, diminishing ore grades and the ever deeper shafts needed to extract its resources.

BCL owed creditors about one billion pula when it was placed under provisional liquidiation.

Dixon-Warren said potential buyers had been put off by a $271 million lawsuit filed by Norilsk Nickel against BCL over its botched deal to buy a 50 percent stake in a South African nickel mine from the Russian company.

“We have had some strong interest from many buyers, but the issue of the Norilsk lawsuit has been complicating matters,” Dixon-Warren said.

He also said BCL’s Tati Nickel mine, which it bought from Norilsk, had attracted strong interest from potential suitors.

Botswana’s high court has extended the provisional liquidation of Tati by six months to allow a deal with an unspecified suitor to be concluded, Dixon-Warren said.

($1 = 10.2145 pulas)


(Writing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by David Clarke)

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KFC quits Botswana after two decades as economy struggles

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – KFC will shut its 12 outlets in Botswana next week as they are no longer viable, closing its doors after operating in the southern African nation for 20 years, its owners said on Friday.

Botswana’s economy has been hurt by a commodities downturn and a drought, which has put thousands of jobs at risk.

Proprietors of the Botswana KFC franchise, VPB Propco, said in a statement KFC Botswana will cease operating next week, with all stores closed by June 5.

KFC has restaurants in 14 countries in Africa.


(Writing by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia)

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Botswana’s economy to return to growth this year

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s economy will return to growth this year after contracting in 2015 as water and electricity supply stabilise, the central bank said on Monday.

Consumer prices in the southern African country will remain within the bank’s target of between 3 and 6 percent, the Bank of Botswana’s Kealeboga Masalila said at a conference.

Botswana’s economy contracted 0.3 percent in 2015 due to a sharp fall in mining output as global demand for commodities sank and a severe drought pushed up inflation.


(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Joe Brock)

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Japan, South Korea firms win contract to build $800 mil Botswana power plant

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

GABORONE (Reuters) – A joint venture by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and South Korea’s Posco Energy has won an $800 million tender to expand Botswana’s Morupule B power plant by an extra 300 megawatt (MW), a government notice said on Tuesday.

The new coal-fired plant would be an extension of the troubled Chinese built 600 MW power plant.

The firms will recover their costs by selling the power to the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) through a 30-year power purchase agreement at a cost of 812.56 pula per MegaWatt hour.

Construction of the new plant is expected to start late this year with the first power produced added to the national grid by May 2020, lifting power generation to more than 1,000 MW. Current national power demand stands at 610 MW.


(Writing by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by James Macharia)

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Botswana’s August trade balance slips to $159 mil deficit y/y

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GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s trade balance swung to a 1.7 billion pula ($159 million) deficit in August from a 1.82 billion pula surplus in the same period last year due to a sharp fall in diamond exports, the statistics agency said on Friday.

On a month-on-month basis, the trade balance recorded a 1.7 billion deficit in August compared with a 486 million pula in July.

The data shows that while imports remained relatively flat, the August month-on-month deficit was driven by a significant 34 percent decline in exports from 4.6 billion pula to 3.03 billion pula.


(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia, Reuters)


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Botswana’s mining production index down 7.6% in Q2 y/y

Comments (0) Africa, Latest Updates from Reuters

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s mining production index fell to 98.5 in the second quarter of 2015, a year-on-year contraction of 7.6 percent, triggered by a slowdown in the diamond and copper mining sectors, its statistics office said on Wednesday.

Diamond production, exports of which contribute 30 percent to the GDP of the southern African nation, decreased by 5.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared to a 1.5 percent contraction in the same period in 2014.

“This decline is mainly attributable to the weakening demand for diamonds in the global market,” Statistics Botswana said in a statement.

Copper production decreased by 69.7 percent year-on-year, the agency said.


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Botswana’s first uranium mine targets 3.75m pounds output

Comments (1) Africa, Australia, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

uranium mining

GABORONE (Reuters) – Australian firm A-Cap Resources has applied for a licence to open what would be Botswana’s first uranium mine with a capital expenditure of $351 million, the firm said on Friday.

Botswana is estimated to hold around 1.04 billion tonnes in uranium reserves, in the central part of the country, and the government has issued prospecting licenses in the last decade although no production has taken place.

The exploration firm said results of technical studies showed the project would produce up to 3.75 million pounds of the ore in the first five years of its projected 18-year life.

The project was ideally located near roads, a railway network and power supply, the company said a statement, and was also on the site of one of the largest uranium deposits in the Africa, with estimated deposits of 261 million pounds.

A resurgent uranium price meant the project, where explorations started in 2006, was viable, the firm said.

Global uranium production had stalled recently due to depressed prices, curtailing exploration activities and the opening of new mines.

Spot uranium prices slumped over 12 percent in the past three quarters before bouncing back to a 5 month-high of $37.25 per pound in September.

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Botswana sees budget deficit narrowing in 2016

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GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s budget deficit will narrow to 0.03 percent of gross domestic product from a previous forecast of a 2.6 percent shortfall, the ministry of finance said on Thursday.

The department attributed this to expected growth in revenue collected from non-mineral taxes, which it said would likely grow 10.4 percent to 10.32 billion pula ($977 million).

“This significant growth rate of the non-mineral revenue is encouraging since it reflects possible success of our diversification efforts,” the department said in budget strategy paper.

Botswana halved its 2015 growth forecast in August to 2.6 percent from 4.9 percent previously, citing expected weakness in the diamond market which accounts for nearly 40 percent of its budgetary revenue and around 85 percent of exports in dollar terms.

Sluggish sentiment in the market has seen both De Beers and Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) sales falling by over 20 percent in the first six months of the year.

The ministry added that it projected total revenues and grants rising 3.1 percent in the 2016/17 financial year from previous estimates.

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