March 15, 2019 / 12:34 PM / 6 days ago

Botswana's Debswana targets diamond output of 24 mln carats in 2019

A worker at the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company displays a rough diamond during the sorting process at the purpose-built centre in the capital Gaborone, file.

GABORONE (Reuters) - Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Mining, a joint venture between De Beers and the southern Africa country’s government, aims to keep production at around 24 million carats this year, its managing director said on Friday.

Debswana lifted diamond output by 6 percent to a four-year high of 24.1 million carats in 2018, buoyed by strong demand from the United States, China and India.

“I see the year staying as we budgeted at 24 million carats. There is no reason for us to change production forecasts at this moment,” said Debswana managing director Albert Milton.

“But if the markets were to change we will adjust accordingly,” he added.

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

Botswana, Africa’s largest diamond producer and among the continent’s wealthiest nations, is trying to reduce its reliance on mineral revenues, which the government sees dropping 4 percent to 13.6 billion pula ($1.26 billion) this year.[nL5N20U62O]

($1 = 10.7759 pulas)

Reporting by Brian Benza; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

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