The Lewcor Group, a family-owned business headquartered in Okahandja, is now officially the new owner of Namdeb’s Elizabeth Bay Mine that has produced over four million carats between 1991 and 2018.
Namdeb on Friday confirmed completion of the sale of the mine to Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining (SDM) Proprietary, which is a subsidiary of the Lewcor Group.
While neither party confirmed the purchase price on Friday, the mine and its associated marine assets initially went on sale as a going concern in 2018.
A price of US$8.3 million or N$120 million at the time was set when the buyer was announced in September 2019.
Lewcor describes itself as a family business comprising mining, plant hire and civil engineering and other smaller operations. Chris Lewis holds sole membership, and his two sons are employed full-time in management positions.
The Group is headed by its owner and founder Chris Lewis, who is also the managing director of SDM; his sons Helmuth Lewis are listed as the CEO/Plant and mining manager, and Thiaan Lewis is the managing director.
“We look forward to optimising the opportunity afforded by gaining ownership of the Elizabeth Bay Mine and its associated mining licences and will strive to successfully recommission operations in such a way to establish a long-term plan for both onshore and offshore mining. We strongly believe in the potential of the mine, but also know that we’ll only be able to create value through the efforts and support from our employees, service providers and government stakeholders,” said Chris Lewis in a statement.
According to Namdeb, it decided to sell the Elizabeth Bay Mine to a new owner that could continue to run the operation economically. Following a rigorous and independently advised selection process, SDM was announced the successful bidder in September 2019.
In a statement, Namdeb noted that the finalisation of the sale transaction paves way for SDM to take full ownership of the mine, which they anticipate will create new business and job opportunities in the //Kharas region.
“With SDM now taking over the operations, this creates much-needed economic opportunity for the Lüderitz community and larger economy of Namibia, especially during this time when employment has been negatively affected by the pandemic,” said Martha Uumati, deputy chairperson of Namdeb board.
Mining operations originally commenced at the Elizabeth Bay in 1911 and was halted over the years for various reasons. It was eventually reopened in 1991 as a 10-year project but lived way past its initial life span and continued operations until closure in 2009 as a loss-making operation.
Following additional sampling programme, the mine re-opened in November 2011 and ran until September 2018 when it was placed under care and maintenance.
“It is not an easy decision to part ways with an asset that has made such a great contribution to both Namdeb and the community of Lüderitz, but it was the best decision both for the business and the local community. I am confident that SDM will give Elizabeth Bay Mine the new investment it requires, as well as the impetus to create long-term value and to deliver an important economic contribution. I wish Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining all the best with their new venture and trust that they will continue to build on the proud history of mining in the area,” said Namdeb CEO, Riaan Burger.