Diamond Polishers Must Await Outcome of
Namibia-DeBeers Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Diamond polishers in Namibia, companies that employ about 1,300 people, will have to wait for the outcome of talks between the southwest African country and De Beers before they know the fate of contracts allowing them to operate.

Namibia Diamond Trading Co., a joint venture between the government and the Anglo American Plc unit, will “establish arrangements for rough diamond supply in Namibia after March,” NDTC Chief Executive Officer Shihaleni Ndjaba said in an e-mailed response to questions on Thursday.

Five-year contracts for 11 polishers and cutters that allow them to buy diamonds, or be so-called sightholders, end next month. The NDTC shareholders are in negotiations for a new diamond-marketing agreement that started last year to replace their accord that expired in December. Namibia is the world’s largest producer of diamonds recovered from the ocean.

NDTC sorts and values all the gems produced by Namdeb Diamond Corp., Namibia and De Beers’ mining joint venture. It sells more than 10 percent of them to the 11 Namibian sightholders, and the rest to De Beers Diamond Trading Co.

“The number of contracts will be a function of the criteria that will be set for the selection process, combined with how many applicants meet the criteria that will be set at the time,” Ndjaba said.

Namdeb’s production rose 6 percent to 1.76 million carats in 2013, with two-thirds of that coming from marine mining operations.


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