De Beers aims to hold Sights outside Botswana until travel restrictions brought in to counter COVID-19 are eased.
Its third Sight of the year, in March, was canceled and the fourth, in May, was virtually wiped out by travel restrictions. The next is scheduled for 15 to 19 June in Gabarone, the country’s capital.
But De Beers is in talks with Botswana’s government to relocate Sights to a diamond hub such as Antwerp as a temporary measure, allowing many more of the 80 or so Sight holders to attend.
“If we can move our product closer to them it would give us the flexibility to restart sales as soon as the markets reopen,” De Beers executive vice president, diamond trading, Paul Rowley told a media briefing, according to a Reuters report.
De Beers produces a quarter of the world’s diamonds and sells the vast majority in Botswana.
Earlier this month it launched its online Buy platform, offering registered buyers a new opportunity in a market severely weakened by COVID-19.
The February Sight saw sales drop by 36% to $551m as the global pandemic began to impact.