KGK group opens new diamond polishing company
KGK Group this week opened a cutting and polishing factory in Botswana, defying a trend in which similar operations have been either retrenching or closing operations due to the diminishing demand of diamonds.
KGK Group chairman, Navrattan Kothari, said the fact that the diamond industry has been facing challenges as a result of depressed prices does not mean the industry is dead or will not recover. He said they have long held the ambition to open a cutting and polishing factory in Botswana to add to the company portfolio.
KGK was initially granted a Botswana diamond cutting and polishing license in March 2013 and the group has focused on undertaking the necessary steps to inaugurate the factory.
KGK describes itself as an experienced dealer in the diamond industry with expertise spanning over 100 years across the diamond value chain and is involved all aspects of the pipeline from rough diamond trading, polishing, jewellery manufacturing and retailing. The group is among the sightholders of De Beers Group and has sights in Botswana and South Africa.
Kothari said they see a big potential in Botswana as the country is the largest producer of diamonds in the world. He said they have brought with them the best technology and expertise in Botswana and have set up a state of the art infrastructure with structured skill development programme.
The group chairman said through the support from the government of Botswana together with De Beers, they will be able to realise their potential in timely development of the factory. Kothari emphasized that KGK believes in a win-win situation for all stakeholders, be it the government, suppliers, trade and the people of Botswana.
“We will continue to showcase our commitment to beneficiation in Botswana through employing expert trainers to transfer skills to the youth of the country successfully,” Kothari said.
The group so far has a workforce of 90 of which 55 are locals and 35 expatriates. The group aims to expand its workforce to 150 by the end of 2016.
When officially opening the factory, minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, said the factory could not have come at an opportune time as the global commodities market is going through difficulties which are impacting on mineral dependent economies like Botswana.
Mokaila said the opening of KGK factory shows that even though the diamond industry has been going through challenges, there is still hope and confidence in the sector.
“Opening a factory under the prevailing diamond business environment demonstrates not just commitment and self belive by owners of KGK, but also a long-term approach to business,” Mokaila said.
For his part, De Beers Executive Vice President for Global Sightholder Sales, Paul Rowley, said De Beers has just announced major investment in a new marketing programme for the end year holiday season, which is important to the global industry’s prospects.
“With KGK opening up its factory here, this is a very positive step for the domestic industry in Botswana,” said Rowley.