Debswana Diamond Company, the joint venture equally owned by De Beers and the government of Botswana, announced that Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo will retire from the business with effect from November 30 following 26 years of service. Albert Milton, currently General Manager of Jwaneng Mine, will take over as Managing Director with effect from December 1. Bonyongo will stay on for three months as a consultant to ensure a smooth leadership transition.
Incoming managing director Milton’s career with Debswana spans more than 25 years, during which he has gained extensive diamond and coal mining experience at both operational and strategic level. He holds of a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Mining Engineering degree from Camborne School of Mines in England, and has worked at Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines, Jwaneng Mine, Venetia Mine and Morupule Coal Mine, where he held various management positions.
Milton was appointed as General Manager for Jwaneng Mine in 2013. Prior to this, he was the General Manager of Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) for five years. Whilst at MCM, he led the expansion of the mine from a one million to a 3.2 million tonnes per annum operation in order to meet the energy demands of the nation. Among his many achievements at Jwaneng Mine, he oversaw the safe and timely delivery of the multi-billion dollar Cut 8 project, which started producing ore to plant in 2016 and achieved bottleneck in 2018 as planned.
De Beers CEO and Debswana Chairman Bruce Cleaver said, “I would like to say a huge thank you to Balisi for his exemplary leadership of Debswana over the years. Both of Debswana’s shareholders — the nation of Botswana and De Beers Group — have benefitted from his excellent stewardship of the business and it has gone from strength to strength. Balisi has not only developed the operations, but also the people of Debswana, leaving a strong legacy behind him.”
He went on to say, “I am pleased to say that Debswana will continue to benefit from that leadership legacy as Albert will be taking all his many years of outstanding experience in the organisation to lead Debswana in its next chapter. There are very exciting times ahead for Debswana with a huge amount of opportunities on the horizon and I believe Albert is the ideal candidate to take the business forward and maximise its potential.”