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.
Laurelton Reign Diamonds, a joint venture between Tiffany & Co's Laurelton Diamonds and Namibia's Reign Investments, is set to reopen its state-of-the-art diamond-cutting and polishing factory in Namibia after closing the doors on its Windhoek factory last August. The factory, which opened in 2007, shut down after Laurelton Diamonds pulled out of the joint venture, leaving 157 workers on the streets.
According to the AngloAmerican Q3 production report, De Beers' diamond production for the third quarter of 2015 decreased 27% to six million carats, following the decision to reduce production to better reflect current trading conditions - namely, oversupply in the diamond market. Anglo also said that De Beers' full year production guidance is now ~29 million carats - the bottom end of the previously indicated 29m to 31m range, and up to 5m carats fewer than Anglo’s original guidance given early in 2015. So far this year production is 11% below last year’s levels.
The Namibian government and De Beers have still not signed a final agreement relating to diamond mining and sales, with The Southern Times reporting that the hold-up is due to De Beers' opposition to increasing the local supply of rough diamonds to the cutting and polishing industry to 25- 30% from 10%. De Beers wants the increase to be to 15% which is opposed by government officials.
Three managers of the recently closed Laurelton Reign Diamonds in Namibia are taking the firm to court for being fired contrary to correct procedures. A total of 157 workers were requested to go on leave last August this year but were then called in for duty on August 20, only to be told that the company was closing down. Nathan Strauss, the spokesperson for mother company Tiffany and Co said the firings were due to high manufacturing costs.
AllAfrica.com reports Tiffany & Co. confirmed the closing of its subsidiary Laurelton Reign Diamonds, a joint venture which operates in Windhoek's Katutura area in Namibia. Approximately 160 employees will reportedly lose their jobs. A spokesperson for the company, Nathan Strauss, commented: "Laurelton Diamonds is able to access enough rough supply from other locations where manufacturing costs are lower. Ultimately, we are consolidating operations to ensure the viability of our other locations, including Botswana."
Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) paid the Windhoek government $4.6 million (N$60 million) in dividends, Agence de Presse Africaine reported yesterday. Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) was established in 2007 to make rough diamonds available to the local manufacturing sector, as part of the government's efforts of create jobs and value addition to the country's diamond resources.
The diamond mining agreement signed by De Beers and Botswana in 2011 was widely seen as a landmark decision, and its implications are now being widely felt. Namibia appears to have secured a similar deal in its recently signed diamond sales and marketing agreement with the mining giant, with De Beers having little choice but to accept most of the Namibian government's demands.
While resource nationalism remains an issue in many African countries, several countries have returned their focus to investment attraction, changing their laws to encourage mining investment. This is particularly true in Zambia, which has made a u-turn decision on its initial mining tax regime announced earlier this year, which included increasing levies. Zambia is set to cut mineral royalties for underground mines to 6%, significantly less than the 9% previously proposed. However, the royalty will remain at 9% for open pit mines.
The Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers have today announced agreement, in principle, on the terms of a new 10-year sales agreement for the sorting, valuing and sales of all of Namdeb Holdings’ diamonds (production from Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia). The agreement will be the longest sales contract ever agreed between the two partners.
In an interview with New Era, Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Obed Kandjoze revealed the new diamond sales and marketing agreement between the Namibian government and De Beers would, in an unprecedented step, allow Namdeb to sell Namibian diamonds to third parties, by-passing the long-standing traditional arrangement of selling through De Beers channels at a time and price dictated by De Beers. He added Namibia is therefore currently in the process of establishing a new diamond sales and marketing company, christened /Nore /Uis.
The firm would be called Nore/Uis, the Minister of Mines and Energy Obed Kandjoze said in an exclusive interview with New Era, with a new diamond sales and marketing agreement between Namibia and De Beers enabling Namdeb to sell Namibian diamonds to third parties, bypassing the long-standing traditional arrangement of selling through De Beers channels at a time and price dictated by De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer by value.
It seems that Namibia and De Beers are close to signing a new sales agreement which has been in the making for two years De Beers Group CEO Philippe Mellier paid a visit to President Hage Geingob. Both Geingob and Mellier said they were confident the new deal, which provides for beneficiation of a sizeable portion of diamonds mined by the jointly owned Nambdeb, would be signed soon while declining to give a date.
Namibia and De Beers have agreed in principle to introduce changes in a proposed new contract for their jointly owned Namdeb Diamond Corporation that will include increased local beneficiation and an alternative diamond market to sell its gems. A Cabinet source told The Namibian that De Beers had agreed to Namibia's demands and the negotiating team is now finalizing the agreement.
Rapaport reports Diamond Fields International Ltd. restarted offshore operations on Namibian diamond concessions through a joint venture with International Mining and Dredging South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. The phased program wil ascertain quality and economical viability of mining the ML-138, ML-139 and ML-111 marine diamond deposits.
The De Beers Group reported in its 2014 Report to Society that rough diamond sales for local beneficiation jumped 11 percent to $1.56 billion. In addition, the miner reported that its social investment spending on health, education, housing and community development rose by around $800,000 from the 2013 figure to $30.3 million.
Namibia’s “sensible” mineral policies, as well as the Namibian mining industry’s close working relationship with the government, will enable the South West African country's economic growth rate to achieve 4% this year compared with South Africa’s first-quarter economic growth rate coming in this week at just 1.3%, says Nedbank Capital mining and metals investment banking head Paul Miller. South Africa has traditionally been the powerhouse economy in the region.
Diamond mining revenue topped N$10.87 billion ($905 million) in the last financial year, according to statistics released by the Chamber of Mines in its annual report. Namdeb Holdings produced 1.8 million carats of diamonds of which 1.273 million carats were produced by Debmarine Namibia. “This is the largest annual production recorded to date by Debmarine, breaking the production record for the third year in a row,” said Werner Duvenhage, president of the Chamber of Mines. Namdeb also increased production in 2014 totalling 612,265 carats against a target of 570,427 carats.
Standard Bank Namibia and RMB Namibia, a unit of FNB Namibia, announced that they will fund 75% of the N$2.3 billion (US$195 million) needed to build the new diamond exploration and sampling vessel for Debmarine Namibia. The rest of the money will be provided by Debmarine. The vessel will become the sixth member of the Debmarine fleet to be registered at Lüderitz. Debmarine has grown to be the biggest diamond producer off Namibia's coast, surpassing land production and now produces about 1.2 million carats per annum.
The sides were due to have completed the negotiations in June 2013 but have delayed their sales agreement until a new deal is reached. Namibia’s Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali hopes agreement will be reached by June, and possibly earlier.
CEO Philippe Mellier said the diamond mining giant is investing heavily in increasing its production capacity this year both at current operations and in developing new deposits.
The South-West African diamond producer saw output drop by 12.3 percent on the quarter and on the year to 446,637 carats in the third quarter, partly as a result of bad weather which battered marine mining operations in the middle of the year.