In spite of the low commodities prices, the government of Namibia and De Beers Group of Companies still hold on to the adage “Diamonds are forever”.
And to underscore their unwavering confidence in what is universally regarded as the “precious” stone, De Beers Group of Companies and the Namibian government have signed a new ten-year sales agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Namdeb Holdings’ diamonds, representing the longest-ever signed agreement between the two partners.Under the new agreement, Namibia would see a significant increase in rough diamonds made available for beneficiation, with $430-million of rough diamonds being offered each year to a 50:50 JV between the Namibian government and De Beers, called the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), to sort and value output from Namdeb Holdings. Namdeb Holdings is a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between the Namibian government and De Beers and is the parent company for Namdeb (land) and Debmarine Namibia (marine) diamond production..
Commenting on the new development, Namibia Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze, emphasised: “This new agreement cements Namibia’s position as an important international diamond player and will provide further stimulus to advance our downstream industry. De Beers and Namibia have a longstanding and successful partnership and I am pleased we will continue working together for the benefit of Namibia and the diamond industry.”
On behalf of his organisation, in a statement, De Beers Group CEO Philippe Mellier, noted: “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 socioeconomic 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.”
As part of the agreement, all Namdeb Holdings’ special stones would be made available for sale in the country. Further, the agreement provided for 15% of Namdeb Holdings’ yearly run-of-mine production to be made available to a government-owned independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds. De Beers stated that the agreement built on the socioeconomic contribution the partnership had made to Namibia since it was formally established in 1994. Namdeb Holdings was one of Namibia’s largest taxpayers and the country’s biggest foreign exchange generator, contributing more than one in every five Namibian dollars of foreign earnings.