May 4, 2017 / 7:50 PM / 5 months ago

World Bank calls on Botswana to make large mining contracts public

A visitor holds a diamond during a visit to the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (GSS) inGaborone, Botswana November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

GABORONE (Reuters) - The World Bank on Thursday called on Botswana to make details of its large mining contracts with companies public to improve transparency in the diamond rich country’s business dealings.

Botswana earns 89 percent of its foreign exchange income and 30 percent of national revenues from mining, predominantly diamonds. It has various large-scale mining, sales and marketing contracts with Anglo American’s (AAL.L) diamond unit, De Beers.

World Bank Group consultant Nils Handler said in a report the government’s decision to keep the negotiation process around contracts for diamond mining and large integrated projects confidential was a cause for concern.

”A more open process, including published contracts, would assist Botswana in becoming a more transparent and accountable jurisdiction,” he said.

The government could not immediately be reached for comment.

De Beers and Botswana currently jointly own Debswana and DTC Botswana which are involved in the exploration, mining, manufacturing, and trading of diamonds.

($1 = 10.5263 pulas)

Writing by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia and Mark Potter

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