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More sights for Botswana

More sights will have to be added by De Beers in Botswana, a source close to the situation said on Wednesday.

The Botswana government has not yet decided the number of new sights yet, but an offer by the company's Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London to allocate three more sights was not enough, said the source, who asked not to be named.

Currently, there are four diamond cutting and polishing factories in Botswana. These are all DTC sightholders.

"De Beers wanted three, but the government did not agree to that. We need more than that. Between now and 2010 we would like to see the current four raised to 10 and then see how their performance is," he said

"Negotiations are ongoing, but at the end of the day the government will decide how many licences they want."

The issue of new sightholders is a key part in talks between the government and De Beers for changes in the distribution of Botswana's rough.

De Beers sells Botswana's rough through the DTC in London.

The government would like to increase the number of cutting factories to create employment by tying the supply of rough to manufacturing.

Under the new sales contract negotiated last year, what was the exclusive preserve of the DTC in London to select sightholders has now become a joint decision with the Botswana government who took a stake in the DTC. The details as to the actual mechanics of the process are still being discussed.

De Beers nor DTC were immediately available for comment.

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