March 8, 2019 / 7:49 AM / 9 months ago

Botswana sees lower mineral revenues in 2019

Diamonds are displayed during a visit to the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (GSS) in Gaborone, Botswana November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

GABORONE (Reuters) - Diamond rich Botswana expects mineral revenues in the 2019/20 fiscal year to drop by 4 percent to 13.6 billion pula ($1.26 billion) due to a decline in royalties and dividends, a minerals ministry budget document showed on Thursday.

Mineral Resources Minister Eric Molale said in the document that global diamond demand was showing signs of slowing down. Retail jewellery sales fell during the last quarter of 2018, he said, while polished prices continued to decline into the beginning of 2019, albeit at a slower rate.

“Trading and prices of diamonds are expected to remain subdued during the first quarter of 2019 due to significant overstocking of small polished diamonds,” Molale said in the document presented to parliament late on Wednesday.

Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and Botswana, produced 24.1 million carats of diamonds in 2018, a 6 percent jump from the previous year.

The company is the largest contributor to Botswana’s government revenues.

($1 = 10.7527 pulas)

Reporting by Brian Benza; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Kirsten Donovan

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