Government and the De Beers Group yesterday entered a new ten-year sales agreement – the longest ever between the two parties – for the sorting, valuing and sales of Namdeb Holdings diamonds. Namdeb Holdings is owned in equal proportion by the Namibian government and De Beers. Both parties yesterday nodded in agreement that the new deal holds more benefits for the local diamond industry and the Namibian economy at large, as the value of rough diamonds that will now be made available for local value addition will rise to N$6.73 billion annually.
The previous agreement stipulated that Namdeb made available 10 percent of its total annual production for local beneficiation. This has now been increased to 15 percent, it was announced yesterday.
Also, the new diamond sales and marketing agreement will result in a new player in the industry in the form of a new wholly-owned government company, Namib Desert Diamonds (NAMDIA),that will distribute up to 15 percent of Namdeb Holdings’ total production.
NAMDIA will serve as a diamond sales and marketing company to source market-related prices on the international market.
Additionally, as part of the agreement, all Namdeb’s very large or unusual stones, known as special stones, will be made available for sale in Namibia – the first time that this happens in the country. Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze, who in recent years has become known as a tough negotiator, looked a happy man as he announced details of the new agreement in Windhoek yesterday. “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, create more jobs, as well as enhance their profitability and their sustainability,” a visibly relieved Kandjoze said at the signing ceremony.
“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.
“Diamonds can have a powerful and transformative effect on a country’s prospects when effectively managed and I commend our partners in government for their vision regarding the role of diamonds in national development,” said Philippe Mellier, chief executive officer of the De Beers Group.
“Namibia has extensive diamond deposits and we have a very favourable legislative and fiscal environment, which encourages the diamond industry to thrive,” Minister Kandjoze further said. “The favourable legislative and fiscal environments have created a conducive environment for the Namibian mining industry to show resilience and continue to thrive during the global downturn, coupled with the decline in commodity prices,” Kandjoze added.