Mines minister Tom Alweendo has encouraged companies operating in the mining and beneficiation sectors to take the issue of skills transfer seriously, especially high-level skills.
He was speaking at the inauguration of Finestar Jewellery & Diamonds Namibia, a local diamond-cutting and polishing factory in Windhoek.
At the event, Alweendo noted that diamond mining continues to play an important role in the domestic economy, representing 25% of Namibia’s exports in terms of value from the mining sector.
During the 2020/21 fiscal year, almost 20% of corporate tax came from the diamond industry.
“I believe that we are at a stage where we need more of our diamonds being cut and polished in the country, thereby creating more needed employment. The local cutting and polishing industry are also likely to flourish only when we have all the needed skills available locally, from the low-skilled ones to the most highly-skilled ones,” he added.
Currently, Namibia has 11 active diamond cutting and polishing companies, and over 900 people are employed in this sector.
Alweendo said Namibia would continue to invite investors, provided these investments are mutually beneficial to both the investors and the local economy.
Last week, Finestar Jewellery & Diamonds Namibia became the latest entrant into Namibia’s growing beneficiation sector by adding value to Namibian diamonds before they are exported.
Finestar is a 100% manufacturing-focused company specialising in premium quality natural diamonds, and commenced with their beneficiation journey some 15 months ago in April 2021.
At the inauguration, Finestar director Gaurav Jain said: “We came here with one clear vision, to create a sustainable business in Namibia”, adding that Finestar is gratified to be entrusted with the highest quality of Namibian rough diamonds.
The company’s factory processes and polishes rough or fine and unaggregated bands in rounds as well as fancy shapes. They produce large high-quality stones above five carats, and have thus far managed to manufacture up to 12 polished stones.
Jain promised that Finestar will expand their Namibian operations and bring in additional skillsets to further their beneficiation journey.
“Finestar has and will always follow some fundamental principles: to buy rough diamonds only from primary sources. We will not sell rough diamonds on the secondary market, and 100% of Finestar polished gems will be sold with complete traceability and provenance,” he assured.
The company is also in the process of setting up a Global Marketing Centre from where Namibians will be fully trained and have the opportunity to globally market stones that are mined and manufactured from their home