Govt. pockets P49 billion from De Beers Group

SHARE   |   Thursday, 01 August 2019   |   By Bakang Tiro
Molale Molale

Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security minister, Eric Molale, says in the last five (5) years, Government has received as dividends from De Beers Group of Companies a sum of forty-nine billion, one hundred and one million, one hundred and fifty four thousand and nine hundred and eight pula (P 49,101,154,988).

Molale made the revelations when answering question on parliament posed by Tati West Member of Parliament Biggie Butale on Wednesday.

 Butale had asked Molale to reveal how much government has received as annual dividends for the last five years from De Beers Group of Companies where government of Botswana holds 15% shareholding.

Minister Molale indicated that all the dividends totaling P 49 billion are from De Beers adding that Debswana dividends are received from profit split of 80.8% government of Botswana and 19.2% on De Beers side.

Responding to if the investment in De Beers Group of Companies is of any financial value in relation to dividend received, he said the government investments are fully financially viable.

“ It should be noted that dividends are declared by the Boards of each of the companies, taking into consideration the cash needs of the business, and expectations from ongoing cash generation by each company,’’ Molale said.

He also said dividends paid were affected by significant cash requirements for the past five years due to the new investments at Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine in Canada and a new vessel for DebMarine in Namibia.

The expansion projects by Debswana, being Cut-8 in Jwaneng the Letlhakane Tailings Treatment Plant and mine have also added to the expenditure on new investments, Molale highlighted.

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“ It also worth noting that other developments that had negative impact on revenues were the closures of three mines being Snap Lake and Victor Mine which, both in Canada and Voorspoed Mine in South Africa. The closure of Letlhakane Mine open pit operation in Botswana crippled revenues,” he said.

Government has a 15 percent stake in De Beers, while Anglo American Corporation and the Oppenheimer family hold a 45 percent and 40 percent stake respectively and from Debswana Diamond Company government has 50% shareholding.