Botswana: Kalahari Diamond-01/Kalahari
Representatives of the First People of the Kalahari
Kalahari Diamonds Ltd (KDL), operating as Sekaka Diamonds in Botswana, was granted licenses to prospect for diamonds over a wide area in Botswana, including the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Kalahari Diamonds is sponsored by BHP Billiton Plc, which have 20% ownership of the company. In November 2004, representatives of the First People of the Kalahari, Botswana lodged a complaint with CAO alleging that the project activities undermined the rights of the San Bushmen to remain in the reserve, which they claimed to be their ancestral homeland.
The San People are an aboriginal hunter-gatherer group within southern Africa. The British colonial government, through the creation of the CKGR in 1962, granted the San preferential rights to access the reserve and partake in its resources. As a result of successive in-migrations of colonial and African tribal groups over the last century, the territory available to the San has diminished significantly. The CAO Ombudsman assessed the complaint in January 2005 and released a preliminary assessment report in March 2005. After receiving feedback form the complainants, project sponsors and IFC, CAO revised the assessment report.
The Final Assessment Report, completed in June 2005, determined that the San people were in fact displaced as a result of a policy implemented by the Government of Botswana, which was entirely unrelated to the diamond exploration activities. CAO also found that the mine itself was neither invasive nor disruptive to the San’s traditional hunting and gathering way of life. Furthermore, the report emphasized that IFC should ensure that KDL continue its disclosure and consultation with affected people by actively disseminating information and deepening its relationship through frequency of meetings and representation. The complaint was closed in June 2006.