Industry Projects Record Revenue

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By Chrispin Inambao ORANJEMUND Namdeb, the top export revenue earner has drafted a five-year plan that would see the Namibian economy receive N$43 billion through company tax, royalties and dividends, despite contending with a decline in land-based carat profile. Chris Sivertsen, Namdeb’s General divulged these figures last Thursday when he addressed a media contingent invited to visit various diamond-mining sites along the Sperrgebiet. He says the diamond giant intends to mine 10 million carats in five years. This year alone, the company has budgeted N$400 million for capital expenditure on several of its capital projects as it continues to tighten its grip on the industry. Around N$209 million will be set aside to clean up pollution, remove mining waste and for the rehabilitation of mined areas for possible future tourism nodes. It has also budgeted N$140 million to enable retrenched employees to set up their own businesses and ensure they do not become destitute. The mine says its targets would be achievable with the introduction of a recent bonus by which a portion of its profits is paid directly to its employees on top of the 13th cheque. Its success would to a large extent depend on gem-quality stones extracted from six mini-mines, among them M10, the northern-most mining site in Mining Area Number One. M10 is manned by a team of 50 miners, among them four supervisors and a foreman who work two 12-hour shifts. They are involved in bedrock cleaning using giant suction pumps that suck all the diamond-bearing debris on the excavated part of this mining site. Simon Nikanor, a long-serving employee, is the overall foreman at M10. Other equipment on this mining site are several Komatsu HM 300 trucks, excavators, bulldozers and wheel-dozers working a layer of gem-bearing rock in an opencast mine. Onshore mining also received a boost with the installation of the jet rig and the sea walker at M87 Mining Block south of the Number Two Plant where Namdeb employees are involved in sampling before the jet rig is commissioned in the mining area. Once the plant is in full production, the 300-ton platform on the jet rig where Phil Gibs is the operations and maintenance foreman would wet-mine 260 tons of material per hour. The operation consists of a primary jet pump and a secondary jet pump. Peter Mooney is project manager on the N$120-million Marine Dredging Project that once fully operational will produce an impressive 176 million carats of diamonds whose stone size is an impressive .8 carats to 1.1 carats per stone. Mooney says the project has set its future production target at 240 000 carats of diamonds per annum. Another plant in which Namdeb ploughed N$13 million is Pocket Beaches Site 11 and 12 at Bogenfels along the Atlantic Ocean near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz. Managed by Dewald Duvenhage, once in full operation, the plant would process between 25 and 30 cubic metres of material a day. Cognizant of the fact the carat waterfall would start from 2010 and that diamonds could severely be depleted especially by 2020, the company is “repositioning” by re-training its workers so they could be employable in other sectors once it winds up its land-based and offshore operations in the near future. And though the picture still appears rosy for Namdeb in the near future, it intends scrapping the 100-percent benefit to its employees on water, electricity, and housing.