De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa (DBSSSA) has unveiled its new rough diamond sorting, valuation and sales facility in Johannesburg
De Beers Group announced in January 2023 that it was relocating its Sightholder Sales activities in South Africa from Kimberley to Johannesburg following a review of its sorting activities in South Africa. The relocation supports the government’s strategy to consolidate the country’s mineral beneficiation sector into one area at the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone.
The relocation also supports the company’s evolving footprint in the country over the past decade, with the Venetia mine in the Limpopo Province being its only active mine. With no mining activities in the Northern Cape since 2015, De Beers is consolidating its remaining operations to be in close proximity to provide efficiency in operating costs, greater effectiveness and to contribute towards the country’s national beneficiation agenda.
A total of 87 employees were successfully relocated from Kimberley to the new 6,747 sq m facility in Sky Park Industrial in Johannesburg, which has two floors comprising Sightholder offices, hand and machine sorting areas, a training academy and a diamond cleaning plant.
In South Africa, DBSSSA has nine Sightholders that it sells rough diamonds to 10 times a year. The consistent and predictable supply of rough diamonds to South African Sightholders supports their ability to invest in local cutting and polishing factories and together, they have employed 620 cutters and polishers since 2020.
Last year, De Beers Group and several key industry players – including the SA Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator, the SA Diamond Manufacturers Association, the SA Diamond Dealers Club and the State Diamond Trader – partnered to launch a Small Beneficiator Customers (SBC) pilot programme with seven identified cutting and polishing businesses receiving assistance. The objective of this programme is to broaden supply and access of rough diamonds to small South African owned beneficiation companies.
The SBC programme follows the successful launch of the Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators in 2016, which saw one of its alumni companies, Molefi Letsiki Diamonds, becoming the first majority black owned South African Sightholder for the De Beers Group. Now in its second cohort, the Enterprise Development Project aims to facilitate the growth and transformation of diamond beneficiation in South Africa. The focus is on delivering this through a holistic approach that seeks to optimise interventions in all aspects of the diamond pipeline from rough diamond purchasing, state of the art manufacturing of diamonds and jewellery, to marketing and distribution. To date, 10 diamond cutting and polishing companies have benefitted from the Enterprise Development Project.
Moses Madondo, managing director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, commented “South Africa is a significant source of rough diamonds and aside from helping to upskill the industry, it is important for us as diamond producers to assist small beneficiation customers with access to affordable parcels of rough diamonds. We are excited to now be located in the beneficiation hub where we can continue working with our partners to further support the local beneficiation industry. South Africa is sharply focused on being internationally competitive, and with government’s support as envisaged through the GIDZ, the country is well placed to support the growth of its beneficiation sector.”