Debmarine Makes N$5 Billion From Diamonds

DebmarinenbspNamibia last year produced more than 1.16 million carats of diamonds and made more than N$5 billion, the company’s chief executive officer, Otto Shikongo, has revealed.

The company, a 5050 venture between De Beers Namibia and the Namibian government, paid N$2.3 billion in taxes, while N$1 billion was paid in dividends to its stakeholders.

In 2012, Debmarine produced about 1.10 million carats.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Shikongo, described the achievement as a milestone in the company’s production history.

“We will always work hard to keep producing more,” Shikongo said, adding that they do not expect to produce more next year.

He did not, however, say why. Shikongo also said the company will continue to be second to none when it comes to its contribution to the Treasury.

“This is an aspect of immense pride for all of us at Debmarine Namibia,” said Shikongo, who credited the company’s hard working employees with the high production.

Debmarine mines at water depths of 90 to 140 metres and is one of the world’s largest mining industries that employs 780 workers, of which 152 are non-Namibians and 97 are women.

The company, which relocated from Cape Town, South Africa 10 years ago, has managed to ensure that 90% of its employees are local, having started off with only 18% Namibian employees.

The company gets 40% of its production from one of their biggest vessels, Mafuta, the newest member of the company’s fleet that includes the MV Debmar Atlantic, MV Debmar Pacific, MV !Gariep and the MV Grand Banks.

Shikongo further said the company’s production had increased from half a million carats in 2002 to over a million carats in 2008.

“The production was affected by the global crisis and dropped to 600 000 carats in 2009 but managed to increase again in 2010, with almost a million carats of diamonds mined,” he explained.

The company’s operations manager, Jan Nel, says they have mined only 2% of the 6 000 square kilometres allocated. He, however, pointed out that not all the allocated area contain diamonds.

Mafuta captain Talent Kapapilo (35) said safety is one of the most important aspects on the vessel such that they do not allow alcohol on board, and all workers are trained how to survive at sea.

Kapapilo, whose education was paid for by the company, encouraged others to work hard.

“Take everything as a challenge. That’s what drove me to be appointed to this position,” he said.

Source : The Namibian