Botswana Edges Towards Deal with HBNovember 07, 23
(IDEX Online) - The Botswana government appears poised to go ahead with plans to buy a 24 per cent stake in HB Antwerp and to let it sell 10 per cent (at least 600,000 carats annually) of its rough production.
The deal was thrown into doubt in September after Vancouver-based Lucara pulled out of its own 10-year agreement with HB after just a year, alleging "a material breach of financial commitments".
Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi said at the time that his government was rethinking the deal.
But on Monday (6 October) during a state of the nation address he indicated the deal would now likely go ahead.
"Due process of detailed legal and commercial due diligence is now ongoing to finalise the deal," he said.
Lucara pulled the plug on its HB deal after the company removed Oded Mansori, one of its three co-founders, citing "a sharp difference in strategic vision and approaches to business". He responded with a threat of legal action but has since been reinstated.
HB was founded in 2020, promising to "turn the diamond world upside down" with its new and transparent approach to rough diamond sales, paying miners the estimated polished values of their stones, rather than a rough valuation and promising to achieve higher prices for them.
Among its innovations was the HB Capsule (pictured) a proprietary Internet of Things device that uses blockchain technology and data analytics to track every stage of a natural diamond's journey.
The Botswana government first announced its intention to buy a shareholding in HB in April, describing the move as a potential "game-changer".