The government of Namibia confirmed Friday it is going ahead with its announced plans of setting up a company that will separately sell part of the diamonds mined by Namdeb Diamond Corp., the joint-venture it owns equally with Anglo American’s (LON:AAL) De Beers.
Speaking at the World Diamond Congress meeting last month, the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali said the idea is to give diamond dealers and manufacturers the opportunity to buy directly from locals, Rapaport reported.
The project follows the lead of neighbouring Botswana, which began trading 13% of the country’s gems in December, and it depends on a deal with De Beers.
Currently the precious rocks mined in Namibia by Namdeb, the 50-50 joint venture between the government and Anglo’s unit, are sent to De Beers sorting facilities in Botswana and mixed with other De Beers goods. After that, only 10% of the total sent is returned to Namibia, where they are sold through the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC).
Namibia is renowned for its gem quality placer diamonds that occur along the Orange River as well as onshore and offshore along its coastline.