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Steinmetz reveals diamond company’s plans for extension

Steinmetz reveals diamond company’s plans for extension

Floating the Koidu diamond mine in Sierra Leone is part of a wider expansion plan, says Beny Steinmetz in a rare interview. The plans include natural resources in Myanmar and large investments in Liberia.

In an interview with Financial Times published on Sunday, Steinmetz unveils the company’s strategy.

“[W]e invest in difficult places,” Steinmetz says about the Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR). “BSGR pursues these opportunities in an aggressive way. You have to do it hands on. It’s difficult.”

The list of such difficult places includes Liberia where BSG plans to invest “billions” in 2012 in Myanmar and Sierra Leone, where the company mines diamonds.

Octea, the holding firm that owns the Koidu diamond mine in Sierra Leone, is preparing to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It expects to raise $2-$3 billion. Tiffany is one of the largest buyers of diamonds mined at Koidu.

“Everybody can go to Nigeria now to invest in the power sector, but you know what? They’re running out. There are strikes, there is talk of civil war, corruption, talk of, ‘What will happen? We don’t understand!’ – this and that. But we invest in difficult places.”

Steinmetz, 53, grew up in a diamond family in Netanya. He expanded his father’s already successful business and turned to mining natural resources, construction, engineering and real estate. He currently lives in Geneva.

He is now eyeing Asia, saying that the Octea listing could help open opportunities there. “The main point [in Asia] is not only to find investors, but also to find end users in the commodities we are selling.”

Steinmetz stresses that he does not direct BSG. The company is owned by a foundation whose beneficiaries are the Steinmetz family. He is a “special adviser” to BSG subsidiaries. Acknowledging that he has no executive role, he said that he hopes the company “treats me nicely.”

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  • “I hope the government in Sierra Leone is making sure that the investors are doing what is right for the people of the country because those resources belong to them.”

    27th February 2012

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