The country, the world’s largest diamond producer, has long campaigned for its diamonds to be processed, sorted, marketed and sold from within its own borders. The auction was conducted by the government-owned Okavango Diamond Company.
Later in the year, diamond giant De Beers, which owns the country's main mining firm with the government, will also move its sales to Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. Last year, the company moved its rough stone sorting operation, which had been based in London for nearly 80 years, to Botswana.
Botswana’s government hopes diamond sales operations will bring more value-added jobs to the diamond sector, including clerical and jewellery-making work. Its long-term plan is to set up a diamond hub similar to Antwerp and Tel Aviv that will continue once the diamond mines close.