The Namibia Desert Diamonds (Namdia) General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Lelly Usiku, said the threat of synthetic diamonds has brought about an opportunity in the diamond industry to focus on the traceability of the precious stones to verify diamond origins from the mines to jewellery.
Usiku expressed these sentiments during a panel discussion on the diamond industry and its associated value chains. She further outlined that Covid-19 forced Namdia to investigate the possibilities of online trading in order to replicate the physical viewing with a virtual viewing experience.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namdia, Kennedy Hamutenya, said in protecting the image of diamonds, the industry made a commitment in 2008 on the number of producers and manufacturers through the Kimberly Process. He said the process helped squeeze out undesirable elements from the diamond business.
According to Hamutenya, trading partnered states agreed to create a menu for the world and buyers that ensured diamonds on the market would not be associated with conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds are diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts, or warlord activities.
“So, we said every country must implement systems and procedures from the very starting point of mining to the point of export to ensure that there is no penetration of conflict diamonds.
Today, as we speak, 99.8% of all our diamonds are clean, thanks to the Kimberly Process. We have done everything possible to prevent conflict diamonds to penetrate our pipeline,” Hamutenya stated.
According to him, Namdeb Holdings has spent N$3 billion on local procurement of goods and services for the last financial year.
Also, at the same occasion, Brent Eiseb, CEO of the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), elaborated on their mandate and said they sort and value diamonds. He noted that the process entails highly skilled employees as well as technology.
He added that whether diamond mining happens on land or offshore, the value is only confirmed when the stones go through NDTC’s evaluation process.
“This is an important process as it determines the value of royalties and taxes that is to be paid by producers to the government. Another mandate is to facilitate downstream diamond beneficiation.
We take about N$430 million in indexed diamonds and make them available for value addition in Namibia,” explained Eiseb.
He added that this process is vital because it requires quality infrastructure, especially in Namibia, for cutting and polishing of diamonds and also for creating the most job opportunities.
Eiseb concluded that the diamond industry is important in providing for the country at large through development diamonds. He indicated that 85% of total revenue that is created through the sales of diamonds ends up in state coffers through royalties, taxes, and levies that are payable and dividends.