The planned diamond mine at the centre of an international controversy over the forced relocation of Botswana’s Bushmen has been shelved due to the global recession. Demand for diamonds has collapsed in recent months, and all Botswana’s diamond mines closed in February for two months.
The diamond deposit, at a Bushmen community called Gope, was previously owned by De Beers (itself 45% owned by Anglo American). It lies inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Soon after the significance of the find was confirmed, the reserve’s Bushmen were forced off their land by the Botswana authorities.
Survival International, the Bushmen and many others maintained that the reserve’s diamonds were the principal cause of the Bushmen’s eviction.