Links, Slaughters lead on De Beers’ Botswana move

Linklaters and Slaughter and May took the lead roles advising on an agreement between the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the government of Botswana.

A Linklaters team led by corporate partner Simon Branigan and managing associate Leanne Hoare acted for De Beers Group on a 10-year deal that will see the diamond giant transfer its sorting and sales activity to Botswana from London by the end of 2013.

Slaughters corporate partner Nigel Boardman advised the Botswanan ­government on the deal.

As part of the transaction, which took effect on 1 ­January this year but was announced this month, De Beers will transfer its Diamond Trading Company (DTC) from London to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. De Beers’ ­diamond sales operation had been based in London since 1888.

The agreement also ­provided the Botswanan government with an ­independent sales outlet, initially making up 10 per cent of the mine production run coming from De Beers’ Botswanan mining joint venture, Debswana. This figure is set to rise to 15 per cent over the course of five years.

This sale of local production to the market is intended to offer the country a system of verifying prices.

De Beers’ sales joint ­venture, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTC), will continue to sort and value Debswana’s diamond output and sell it on to the DTC.

Botswana is the world’s largest diamond-producing country, turning out around 21 per cent of global ­diamond mine production.