Interest in mining Namibian waters for diamonds is running hot, as yesterday (Nov. 20) Canadian miner Diamond Fields International (DFI) announced it is set to resume its mining activities off the coast of Namibia in 2018, while Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven signed an MoU with De Beers Marine Namibia for building an offshore vessel purpose-designed to support seabed mining operations.
DDA Trading, part of the DDA Group, has announced its third sale of Namibian Marine rough diamonds, which can be viewed in Antwerp from Monday the 6th to Tuesday the 14th of November. The sale will close on Tuesday, 14 November. DDA Trading will be offering approximately 15,000 cts of full ROM, Original Marine Goods of gem quality. The goods are from the underwater concessions of Samicor.
Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture between the Namibian government and Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers plans to close four mines by 2022 in the southern African country, reports Reuters following a statement made by a union official in a local newspaper. The Namibian Sun quoted Mineworkers Union of Namibia Oranjemund branch chairperson Mbidhi Shavuka as saying “We understand that it is the nature of the resource; diamonds are finite." The mines affected are Elizabeth Bay Mine, which will be shut down at the end of 2018, Daberas at the end of 20
With De Beers leading the charge by increasing rough production 46% in Q3 and 29% for the first nine months of the year, as ALROSA increased production 6% thus far in 2017, the two diamond mining giants together have churned out 54.8 million carats in the first nine months of 2017, a 15% increase over the 47.5 million carats during the same time frame last year.
The Russian government wants Alrosa to offer more favorable terms to local cutters so they are able to compete in a market that’s dominated by Indian manufacturers.
Alrosa has chosen to focus on mining, where it can get bigger margins, leaving Kristall Production Corp. and other cutters to buy stones at similar terms as overseas competitors. They are struggling to compete with centers like India, the largest polishing center, due to manufacturing being cheaper - it manufactures 90% of the world’s diamonds - and a workforce of 1 million.
Namibian rough diamonds are known for their high quality; mining these quality goods also costs a premium.
The world’s largest and most advanced diamond exploration and sampling vessel, the mv SS Nujoma, is ready to start exploring for diamond deposits in Namibian waters, following its official inauguration today, writes De Beers in a press release.
De Beers has no exclusive right to mine diamonds in Namibia and cut them. Alrosa can also participate. We made the first step and offered development of the joint sales system to the Namibian party. Namibia is gradually parting with De Beers and attempting to sell gems independently.
- Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev on Russian diamond miner Alrosa cooperating with Namibia on diamond sales
Forevermark diamond, part of the De Beers Group, announced it had inscribed its two millionth diamond, a 3.48 carat round brilliant which now bears the unique inscription of ‘2,000,000’. The diamond was mined, cut and polished in Namibia, then inscribed in the Forevermark Diamond Institute in Surat and will be set in a piece of jewelry at the Forevermark Design innovation Centre in Milan, Italy.
Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has dropped an investigation into whether a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) deliberately sold Namibian diamonds cheaply to Dubai-based firms, writes The Namibian, which first broke the story back in November 2016. The Namibian previously raised concerns that Namdia, tasked to sell stones worth over US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a
De Beers and Anglo American report that rough diamond production for Q4 2016 increased by 10 percent to 7.8 million carats compared with Q4 2015 (7.1 Mct) when production was reduced in response to trading conditions. The company highlights that the increase reflected the ramp-up of Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada, the joint venture between De Beers (51%), which is also the operator, and Mountain Province Diamonds. Rough production surged 24% from Q3 2016 (6.3 million carats) to Q4 2016 (7.8 Mct).
Controversy is brewing in Namibia about who is selling their diamonds to whom, for how much, and whether the country is obtaining fair value from its precious resources. The Namibian newspaper previously raised concerns that a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which is designated to sell stones worth over an estimated US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a 10-year agreement
In southwestern Namibia lies a vast area - now a national park - that has been off-limits to visitors for more than a century. It stretches along the Namibian coast for a distance of 200 miles starting from the South African border at Oranjemund to around 72 km north of Lüderitz.
The Namibian newspaper has raised concerns that a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which is designated to sell stones worth over an estimated US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a 10-year agreement between De Beers and the Namibian government, is allegedly operating without the desired level of transparency when it comes to selling Namibian resources.
Namibian Underwater Technologies and Mining (NUTAM Operations), a marine mineral exploration, mining and dredging entity within the International Mining and Dredging Holdings (IMDH) group – which controls the company’s Namibian and South African entities – has recently completed the first phase of its underwater diamond operations off the Namibian coastline. The company has commenced trenching operations in the Samicor ML56 and Diamond Fields Namibia ML 111 areas adjacent to where De Beers have been mining for diamonds in the Atlantic Ocean since the 1990s.
In an exhaustive article on the operations of Namdeb, the De Beers’ 50:50 operation with the Namibian government, The Daily Telegraph reports that an estimated 95 percent of Namibia's diamonds will in the future come from the seabed off the country's coast and that marine gems are already the fetching the highest prices from all of its seven mines. Five specially-adapted ships fitted with giant tractors and drills between them mine more than one million carats a year from rich alluvial deposits scattered out to sea by the mighty Orange River at the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The final phase of the building of Debmarine's new diamond exploration and sampling vessel is now under way after its arrival in Cape Town last week. The SS Nujoma arrived in Cape Town on Saturday after a three-week maiden voyage from Norway, where the ship was built by Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven Verft over the last 15 months.
Having taken over as De Beers CEO last month, Bruce Cleaver has spoken about the challenges facing the firm and the wider diamond industry in an upbeat message. "Volatility is the new normal, so the only way we can safeguard our success is to work to ensure effective activities across the pipeline, while continuing to support key areas – continuity of supply, midstream sustainability and downstream demand," he commented in a statement.
Debmarine Namibia, which mines for diamonds in the sea off the country's coast, has taken possession of its sixth diamond mining and exploration vessel - the SS Nujoma which cost around $160 million and becomes the firm's sixth ship. The ship was built in Norway and will embark on its maiden voyage for Cape Town later this week for outfitting with exploration equipment, including a technologically advanced sampling system and treatment plant. After the final finishing touches are added it will be handed over to Debmarine Namibia for final commissioning and testing in early 2017.
Discoveries of diamonds on land along Namibia's coastline in the southern Atlantic may extend ground-based mining operations by another 50 years, said the country's Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein. Namibia is the world’s largest producer of marine gems. Namdeb Diamond Corp., jointly owned by the Namibian government and De Beers, came across diamond deposits after pushing back the sea wall at its land-based operations, Schlettwein told Bloomberg.
According to figures recently relased by the Kimberley Process, 2015 global rough diamond production fell 4.2% in value to $13.88 billion even as the volume of output increased 2.1% to 127.4 million carats. Accordingly, the average value of production fell 6.2% from $116.17 to $108.96 per carat. Russia widened its lead over Botswana as the largest producer of rough diamonds in terms of volume and value. Russia’s increased its 2015 production 9.4% to 41.9 million carats, good for a 14% increase in value to $4.24 billion.
Namibian diamond miners working off the coast of Africa discovered a 500-year-old shipwreck loaded with around $14 million of gold and coins. The 'Bom Jesus' - or 'Good Jesus' - was first discovered along the Namibian coast near Oranjemund by geologists from De Beers in April 2008. It was found by the miners as they drained a man-made salt water lake along the Skeleton Coast. Although many shipwrecks have been discovered along the coastal area, this was the oldest and the first to be loaded down with coin and ivory tusks, according to the Mail Online.
The new diamond sales agreement between De Beers and the Namibian government has brought hope to local diamond manufacturers that they will now start receiving enough and good quality diamonds for cutting and polishing, writes The Namibian. In December last year, manufacturers appealed to the government to save them from collapse. At the end of last year only four of 13 diamond processing plants were still operating.
Namibia and De Beers have signed a new 10-year sales agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of Namdeb Holdings’ diamonds. The sales agreement is the longest ever signed between the two partners and comes after more than a year of delays. Namibia will see a significant increase in rough diamonds made available for beneficiation as a result of the agreement, with $430 million of rough diamonds being offered annually to Namibia Diamond Trading Company customers. As part of the agreement, all Namdeb Holdings’ Special Stones will be made available for sale in Namibia.
Statistics Botswana reports that Botswana's overall diamond exports rose 29% in February year-on-year compared to 2015, yet its exports worth $493M fell more than 10% from January when it exported more than $550M. Meanwhile, diamond imports fell nearly 21% in February 2016 to $220M compared to $277M in 2015, though they spiked more than 60% over January imports. Statistics Botswana said this increase was due to high value of diamond imports for aggregation.
De Beers is finalizing a 10-year diamond sales agreement with the government of Namibia, miningweekly reports. The agreement, which would be the longest to be signed by the sides, will address some of the Namibian government's demands regarding the sale and marketing of the country's diamonds mined by joint venture company Namdeb, according to a briefing posted on its Report to Society 2015 bulletin.
Diamond production for the first quarter of 2016 decreased by 10 per cent to 6.9 million carats, reflecting the decision to reduce production in response to trading conditions during 2015, writes Anglo American/De Beers in a press release. Full year production guidance (on a 100% basis) remains unchanged at 26-28 million carats, subject to trading conditions. Debswana (Botswana) production decreased by five per cent to 5.3 million carats as a result of the strategy to align production to trading conditions.
De Beers' CEO Philippe Mellier says the company's commitment to the country of Namibia and their partnership through Nabdeb remains firm even in challenging times the diamond industry experienced last year, reports The Namibian. He said despite volatility in the market throughout 2015, De Beers believes that the sector's outlook is promising, with Namibia playing a key role in its future.
De Beers Namibia Holdings will make N$10 million (US$650,000) available over five years to support the programme run through UNAM’s southern campus at Keetmanshoop, with UNAM providing administrative support. The programme aims to complement the Government’s efforts to support Namibian children in marginalised communities to fulfil their academic potential. At least 50 per cent of the beneficiaries will be girls. For 2016, 87 students, 60 of them girls, have been selected for support. They will receive help with costs related to tuition fees, books and accommodation.
Namibia's desire for beneficiation of its diamonds will require large-scale investment and big sacrifices by the country's population, says Professor Roman Grynberg, a senior research fellow at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis, a nongovernmental research organization. The government and people of Namibia will have to ask themselves if the high costs involved are worthwhile. He also writes that Botswana and Namibia have to recognize that there is currently no commercial advantage to cutting and polishing stones domestically, miningweekly.com reports.
De Beers reported that diamond production for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased 16% to 7.1 million carats, saying the figures reflected the decision to reduce production in response to trading conditions. At its largest mining unit, Debswana, production decreased 21% to 4.7 million carats, as a result of a reduction in tonnes treated at Jwaneng and Orapa. Production in Namibia dropped 18% to 400,000 carats, and in Canada, output was down 8% to 400,000 carats. However, in South Africa, production increased slightly to 1.5 million carats.
Debmarine Namibia's sixth vessel will start operating off the coast of the country in one year after the SS Nujoma diamond sampling and exploration vessel was successfully launched at a shipyard in Norway. The ship is reportedly the most advanced marine diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world. Now that it is floating, its outfitting will be completed prior to sea trials and final delivery from to Debmarine Namibia which is recruiting and selecting Namibian skilled and licensed seamen who will undergo training and vessel familiarization.
Diamond cutting and polishing companies want the Namibian government to save them from collapse by cutting the price of rough diamonds the state supplies to them. "Time is running out. The industry is about to collapse," said Burhan Seber, managing director of Windhoek-based factory, Hardstone Processing. Seber, a former president of the Diamond Manufacturers' Association of Namibia, commented. "All we are saying is that there is a crisis in the industry. There is a rough pricing issue. The factories are now like ghost towns.
De Beers and the government of Namibia are still finalizing the full details of the sales agreement announced last July, according to The Namibian newspaper. The sides agreed in principle on the terms of a new 10-year sales agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of all of Namdeb Holdings' diamonds, but the Attorney General Sackey Shanghala has yet to sign off on the agreement. “This process is ongoing and unfortunately we are unable to specify a timeline for it," said Helena Mootseng, manager of public and corporate affairs at the Namibia Diamond Trading Company.
Investing despite the mining recession, Namdeb (Namibia Diamond Corporation) is utilizing the mining logistics solution provided by Crossroads Namibia, which is designed to contain costs, reduce risks, improve supply chain logistics and enhance safety. Namdeb is a wholly owned subsidiary of Namdeb Holdings, which is co-owned by the government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers. Its main land-based operations are in Oranjemund. Mining Review writes that, "Namdeb is known for innovation, particularly in terms of its mining techniques, as well as a strong emphasis on safety.
The comments were made by Namibia's Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, at the International Diamond Conference held in the capital, Windhoek at the end of last week. He added that 2,000 workers were employed at the peak but that this number is now just 700 due to the downturn the diamond industry is facing worldwide. He pointed out that other countries in the region, such as South Africa and Botswana, are also experiencing the same problems.
The International Diamond Conference 2015 in Windhoek, Namibia got underway today, as did the Connecting Resources and Society in Gaborone, Botswana. The Windhoek conference will address challenges facing diamond beneficiation in Southern Africa and how the industry can be made viable and sustainable. The Namibian government has a 50-50 joint venture partnership with the De Beers Group and together they have implemented a long-term economic development plan that aims to build a self-sustainable national gem-cutting industry.
Diamond traders across the world are expected to congregate in Windhoek, Namibia from November 24 to 27 for this year’s International Diamond Conference, coordinated by industry expert Chaim Even-Zohar. The conference would take the form of a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation between industry leaders at the highest level.
South Africa should consider cooperating with other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to bring about diamond beneficiation opportunities since its beneficiation aims match those of SADC members such as Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, said De Beers Consolidated Mines executive chairperson Barend Petersen. “We need to consider the benefits that we can derive as a region and individual countries if we collaborate to establish SADC as a diamond beneficiation hub,” he said at South Africa’s first diamond Indaba.