Botswana protects its diamond interests on BHP bid for Anglo American 

09 May 2024

The world’s largest diamond producer, Botswana has stated it is keeping a close eye on BHP Billiton’s move to buy Anglo American, which control their diamond venture via De Beers.

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi stated to CNBC Africa during the US -Africa Business Summit in Dallas, Texas, that although there had been no direct communication regarding the issue, Botswana would protect its interests in De Beers, where it holds a 15% stake. 

De Beers and the Botswana government are joint co-owners of Debswana Diamond, the world's largest diamond producer by value.

“The value of De Beers is fundamentally created by Botswana. Without Botswana De Beers doesn’t exist,” the president said during the interview.

Australian company BHP Billiton, the world’s largest miner, has proposed a bid of around $39 billion for London-based Anglo American’s copper mines, excluding its Botswana and South African assets such as Debswana, Kumba Iron Ore, and Anglo American Platinum. 

Anglo has turned down the offer, stating that it undervalues its efforts to create value for its shareholders.

According to analysts, BHP might be considering a second bid, and they anticipate potential competition from commodities producer Glencore. South African Mines Minister Gwede Mantashe, who has had discussions with Anglo executives, has stated that he is closely monitoring the situation, CNBC Africa reports.

“Well, we remain laser focused on the developments because we clearly are an interested party,” he stated. “I also want to state for the record that the value of De Beers is fundamentally created by Botswana. Because without Botswana, De Beers doesn’t exist.”

BHP has suggested that Anglo sell its shares in units Anglo Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore as a potential way to divest from the South African assets it does not wish to include in the deal. However, there hasn't been any statement from BHP regarding its stance on De Beers.