By Catherine Sasman
The Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) will sell N$2.1 billion worth of diamonds to local cutting and polishing factories in Namibia.
This will force beneficiation and value addition of diamonds in Namibia, said Varda Shine, Managing Director of Diamond Trading Company (DTC) International and board member of the NDTC.
“The DTC will assist the NDTC in its selection of clients. We need to make sure that these clients can really add value to the diamonds and not simply export these as we have seen in other producing countries in the past,” said Shine.
The NDTC was formed at the beginning of the year when De Beers, which owns the DTC, and the Namibian Government, signed a 50/50 joint venture.
The body is charged with the responsibility of sorting, valuing, selling and marketing Namdeb’s diamond production.
The NDTC will facilitate, drive and support the creation of a vibrant, sustainable and profitable cutting industry in the country.
“Over the last four-and-a-half years the DTC has looked at how value addition can be done in diamond-producing countries. This is closely linked to consumer confidence. If you tell a consumer that more employment is created in producing countries, they are more likely to buy into your product,” said Shine.
The DTC, she said, understands the objectives of producing countries in the beneficiation of their natural resources and supports the establishment of sustainable local diamond manufacturing operations.
“We believe that we are bringing experience of what is happening in the world to the table,” said Shine.
“With our Namibian partners, we want to make sure that we allow for value addition in Namibia. Both the DTC International and NDTC are committed to the creation of a sustainable and flourishing downstream diamond industry.”
The DTC gets the best long-term diamond price for producers through a sustainable and low-cost channel, while growing and maintaining the consumer market for diamond jewelry.
It is expected that it will sort and value in excess of two million carats in any one year, and will incorporate state-of-the-art sorting equipment designed and manufactured by DTC International.
It is anticipated that the NDTC will work together with Namibian-based diamond jewelry manufacturers to support local marketing initiatives and create a local Namibian brand focusing on local consumers and tourists.
“De Beers has a strong tradition of investing in the diamond industry, from doing consumer research to technology, that helps to maintain the integrity of diamonds,” said Daniel Kali, also a board member of the NDTC.
“DTC International plays a leading role globally to embark on programmes aimed at driving consumer demand for diamonds, and to ensure we offer producers, like Namdeb, sustainable prices year on year,” said Kali.
Namdeb is one of the biggest contributors to the Namibian treasury, with more than seven percent of government revenue coming from De Beers’ involvement in Namibia.
In addition, said Kali, De Beers, through its share in the Namdeb Social Fund, makes a significant contribution to corporate social investment in the country.
The company is currently in the process of re-establishing the De Beers Namibia Fund.