Oranjemund’s Future in the Balance?


By Desie Heita


Public anxiety on the impact of the ever-decreasing land-based diamond mining operations in the town of Oranjemund led to Namdeb making headlines in the past weeks, thanks largely to lawmakers who took up the fight in the National Assembly.

However, the Managing Director of Namdeb, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, said her company would indeed deliver on its commitment to, as with its motto, build the Oranjemund town on diamonds, literally, once the land mining operations cease.

Namdeb has been sounding alarms for the past decade that its land mining operations are drying up and it would have to eventually pull out of Oranjemund land mining area. Namdeb estimates it could mine the current land-based diamond deposits for another 12 years or until 2020, with a major reduction in land-mined diamond carats to be seen by 2010, “if we do nothing”, said Zaamwani-Kamwi.

The plans are to continue with feasibility studies on developing new mines from existing carats.

Marine diamonds have become Namdeb’s future with past mined carats about to outstrip those from land-based operations.

Zaamwani-Kamwi said plans are in place through which a responsible closure of land operation will take place. At an advanced stage are steps to proclaim Oranjemund a town later this year and these include “an integral closure plan to ensure a positive legacy is bequeathed to the town of Oranjemund and the surrounding area”.

There is currently a forerunner to a municipality, the Oranjemund Town Management Company.

“Together with the line ministries, we have been working around the clock to move towards full proclamation later this year. This initiative brings with it many challenges such as the need to make the town sustainable once diamond mining has ceased,” said Zaamwani-Kamwi.

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