Namibia: Diamond Agreement Worth N$67 Billion Signed

THE new agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Namdeb Holdings' diamonds will be worth N$6,73 billion annually.

Figures for the previous agreement were not immediately available yesterday.

The agreement, which was signed by De Beers and the government in the Constitution Room in Windhoek yesterday, is a 10-year agreement worth a total of N$67,3 billion.

"The value of rough diamonds made available to NDTC customers for in-country benefaction in Namibia will rise to US$430 million (N$6,73 billion) annually" said minister of mines and energy, Obeth Kandjoze.

Kandjoze and Philippe Mellier, CEO of De Beers, signed the agreement between the government and De Beers. It is the longest-ever agreement between the partners.

Kandjoze said for the first time in the history of Namibia, Namdeb Holdings will supply diamonds of all sizes, shapes and qualities to Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) customers, and this will allow local diamond-cutting and polishing factories to operate at full capacity.

The agreement will also see the establishment of a 100% state-owned company called Namib Desert Diamonds.

Namib Desert will distribute up to 15% of Namdeb Holdings' total production and serve as a diamond sales and marketing company which will be used as a window on the market to find out what the international market is willing to pay for Namibian rough diamonds, the minister explained.

"This sales agreement, the longest-ever between Namibia and De Beers, not only secures long-term supply for De Beers, but also ensures that Namibia's diamonds will continue to play a key role in national socio-economic development long into the future," Mellier noted.

Diamond commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya said the agreement reflects the interests of De Beers and the government.

Namdeb Holdings is a 50/50 joint venture between the government and De Beers, and is the parent company for Namdeb (land) and Debmarine Namibia (marine) production.

The NDTC is a 50/50 joint venture between the government and De Beers to sort and value production from Namdeb Holdings.

In December, diamond-cutting and polishing companies said they wanted the government to save them from total collapse by cutting the prices of rough diamonds the state supplied to them.

Burhan Seber, the managing director of Windhoek-based factory Hardstone Processing, said in December that the industry was about to collapse.

The situation was so dire that only four of the once-thriving 13 factories remained in operation.

Source: The Namibian