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Namdeb: We are cautiously optimistic

29 december 2009

Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Pty) Limited is owned in equal shares by the Government of the Republic of Namibia and De Beers Centenary AG. In the years since joint ownership took effect, Namdeb has continued to recover diamonds and generate employment for Namibian citizens. The revenue generated has played a central role in building the social and physical infrastructure of an independent Namibia. Diamonds are an important generator of export earnings, accounting for more than 40% of export revenue, 7% of government revenue and more than 10% of GDP. Namdeb, De Beers Marine Namibia (DBMN), NamGem and the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) employ over 3 000 people. This makes Namdeb one of the country’s largest employers and creates multiple opportunities for partners – not only in mining, but also in technology, enterprise development and academic research.

Rough&Polished had a chance to talk to Namdeb’s representative before the New Year to find out the company’s view of the diamond market on the eve of 2010.

What is your company's financial and production highlights for the year 2009?

Namdeb's financial year ends on 31 December so the 2009 results will only be released after approved by the board in April 2010.

Are there any plans to increase the volume of output and the volume of rough diamonds sales on the market in 2010?

Namdeb expects 2010 sales to be in line with 2009 and will be producing in line with this level of demand.

What is the reason behind a recently higher demand for rough diamonds despite the almost flat polished market?

The current increase in demand can be attributed to the re-stocking in the cutting centres and rough demand ahead of the anticipated retail polished demand during the year end sales period.

How do you evaluate the current prices for rough diamonds – are they fair?

It will become clearer after the performance of the year end retail period is known.

Will it be correct to say that the crisis in the diamond industry is over?

Although we have seen an increase in demand it is still too early to say that the financial crisis is over but we are cautiously optimistic. It will become clearer after evaluating the year-end retail sales numbers early in 2010.

Veronica Novoselova, Rough&Polished African Bureau editor in Namibia