By John Ekongo
The Julius Klein Diamond (JKD) Namibia group became the latest addition to the ever-expanding industry of diamond cutting, polishing and manufacturing in Namibia.
JKD and its Namibian partners, the Dinamo Group, on Wednesday opened their facility to the Head of State, President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The new factory is the result of a partnership agreement between Dinamo Diamonds, a Namibian company which obtained a diamond polishing licence in June last year from the Namibia Diamond Trading Commission (NDTC.
The polishing facility established at a cost of N$30 million is adorned with state-of-the-art equipment. The facility currently employs 91 people, 68 of them Namibians. The factory is expected to reach full capacity in about eight months, by then it will be able to employ well above 125 full-time employees.
JKD Namibia’s core business will be polishing and cutting diamond gems for export to countries outside the common monetary area, especially the United States and Israel. The company is also said to be considering other diamond-related businesses in areas of value addition and diamond export and import.
Welcoming the group to Namibia, Pohamba said the “diamond industry has been the backbone of the Namibian economy for many years and it continues to play that role up to today”. Pohamba added that the diamond industry occupies a premier position in the country in terms of employment creation, contribution to the gross domestic product and is by far the largest export earner for the country, apart from its tax revenue.
The President reiterated that the country places great importance on manufacturing.
“As a country which is blessed with a variety of mineral resources, our drive to achieving value addition has the potential of transforming our economy from being an exporter of raw materials to being an exporter of finished products.”
Namibia produces two million carats of diamonds annually, but the President said he wants to see this figure increased.
“We would like to see more of this output being cut and polished locally. In fact, we would like to see finished goods produced locally using locally mined diamonds,” stressed Pohamba.
He added: “It is for this reason that the Government is encouraging manufacturers of various products, which use diamonds in their manufacturing processes to set up factories and manufacture finished goods in Namibia.”
The Head of State commended JKD Namibia, for investing in the country and said it is a sign of the confidence and faith that diamond cutters and polishers have in the country.
Pohamba said the presence of JKD Namibia would provide an increased market share for Namibian diamonds around the world. “I can assure you that Namibian diamonds will stand the test of time,” he ended.
In October last year, JKD Namibia was selected as one of the few NDTC site holders to receive supplies of rough diamonds from NDTC
According to a CIA fact sheet on Namibia, diamonds account for around 30 percent of Namibia’s export earnings and more than 50 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings is derived from mining. Diamond mining is said to be the major driving force behind the gross domestic product, contributing 10 percent annually.