Botswana's diamond exports

Gaborone, Feb 15 (IANS): The value of Botswana's rough diamond exports dropped by 20 percent in 2012, according to data released by the central Bank of Botswana.

The figures show that the exports dropped to $22.5 billion Pula (about $2.8 billion) from 28 billion Pula (about $3.5 billion) in 2011 as production and prices softened due to uncertainty in the global economy, reported Xinhua.

The data revealed that rough diamond exports stood at 1.3 billion Pula ($163 million) in December from 1.5 billion Pula ($188 million) in the previous month.

The Botswana economy has for a long time depended heavily on diamond exports as it is the biggest foreign currency earner. The trend was however affected by a 12 percent drop in prices in 2012 as diamond miner Debswana's production also fell by the same margin.

Another factor to the drop in rough diamond exports was the temporary closure of the Jwaneng mine last year following a mine accident that claimed one life. The mine, situated about 120 km from the capital Gaborone, is the richest diamond mine in the world.

The landlocked country's 2012 exports figure is however higher than the 18.8 billion Pula ($2.3 billion) in 2010 and 13.7 billion Pula ($1.6 billion) in the recession year of 2009.

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