The new Diamond Sorting, Valuing and Marketing Agreement between government and De Beers, which was signed in May this year, has drastically increased the value of the local diamond supply from US$230 million to US$430 million (about N$6.2 billion) annually. This has resulted in two local diamond cutting and polishing factories, Julius Klein Diamonds and Laurelton Diamonds, reopening as a direct result of the new agreement.
In addition to the increased supply, the local cutting and polishing industry is now also being offered all the special stones (diamonds with more than 10.8 carats) from the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC). These changes to the agreement are anticipated to have a significant positive impact on the economics of the local industry, thereby ensuring a sustainable and viable cutting and polishing industry for at least the next ten years.
“NDTC remains the supplying agent for supplying local cutting and polishing factories. In the previous dispensation, only 10 percent of the so called ‘cuttables’ (defined as diamonds that can be economically cut and polished in Namibia) have been made available for local beneficiation during the infant stages of the sector when skills were scarce and proficiency in diamond cutting low. That amount is now increased by some 87 percent from the baseline,” said Kandjoze during a recent media briefing.
The key focus of the NDTC is to develop a sustainable national downstream diamond industry in Namibia. Since 2007, the sorting, valuing and sales of the country’s rough diamonds, as well as the development of opportunities for value-creating and marketing initiatives appropriate for Namdeb Holdings diamond production, have been undertaken within NDTC.
“The aim is to ensure the maximum, long-term value from Namibian diamonds through world-class sorting, valuing and sales practices in Namibia. This strategy supports the development of new employment opportunities and a broadening of the skills base of Namibian citizens, thereby further supporting the Harambee Prosperity Plan objectives,” Kandjoze added.