March 19th, 2020 – Botswana
De Beers’ upcoming sight in Botswana will still take place despite the country’s ban on arrivals from the US, China, India and Belgium, the miner has confirmed.
“While this is an extraordinary situation and COVID-19 has had an impact, our customers continue to express some demand for rough diamonds and have communicated their desire for the sight to proceed,” a spokesperson for De Beers told Rapaport News Tuesday.
On Monday, Botswana suspended entry to visitors from countries it considers high-risk due to the coronavirus outbreak. Those also include Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The government has ordered its own citizens to enter a 14-day quarantine when returning from these locations. Botswana hasn’t reported any cases of the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
Amid the restrictions, De Beers is looking into “innovative” ways of enabling sales at the sight, which was due to run from March 30 to April 3 in Gaborone, it said.
“The consistency and predictability of De Beers Group’s rough-diamond products enable customers to have the option to purchase products unseen,” the company continued. “We are also looking at how best to meet each customer’s current requirements through other flexibility measures which will be communicated to them in the coming days.”
At the previous sale in February, De Beers allowed sightholders to defer purchases of goods destined for the Chinese market. However, since then, the virus has spread further in the US and Europe, leading to a global industry slowdown.