Although it would prove costly for the jointly State-owned, Namdeb, which is in a 50/50 partnership with DeBeers Marine, to achieve their Vision 2020 and eventually 2050, the company revealed there are still enough deposits - both onshore and offshore to be exploited.
The company is the single largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the mining sector, raking in close to 7%; a figure that is cumulatively larger than the contribution made by all other mining operations in the country.
Namdeb’s estimated production for the next seven years within their short-term production plan stands at an astounding 600 000 carats since they aim to expand their operations.
The company is also setting its target on expanding the lifespan of its mines, which is expected to come with a N$280m investment in the Sendelingsdrif Mine The mine is eventually expected to create 200 jobs for both current workers and new intakes.
The opening of Sendelingsdrif Mine has been necessitated by the closure of Daberas within the next two years as resources at the site are depleting and the grades becoming lower thereby becoming costly to exploit.
Sendelingsdrif Mine, which will be soon operational, is currently in the detailed design phase.
Half of the diamonds are expected to come from the Elizabeth Bay Mine in the Oranjemund Basin while the company is consolidating its future plans towards a mining life span of beyond 2050.
According to the company’s General Manager, Riaan Burger, although the company is setting sights on a largely productive and profitable era ahead, the production will be guided by revenue and cost balance in the next few years.
“We have done exceptionally well in the previous year in cutting cost on our operations and we continue to set sights on exploration and expansion wherever there are opportunities,” Burger says.
Burger admits the future plan will present challenging times in the period span between 2014 and 2016 but the millions are expected to start raining in from 2017 onwards.
The operations at the new mine will be driven by the availability of the larger stones.
The newly reconstituted partnership came after the Openheimer family released a 50% chunk to the Namibian Government resulting in the current structure where both DeBeers and Namdeb own 50% of the company across the board (from exploration, mining to marketing.)
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, the company has now shacked off the bad days (2008-2009) when the global economic crisis took its toll on the diamond market vigorously reducing earnings.
The company’s last released book of 2011 showed an exceptional improvement in Namdeb’s profitability raking in N$902m compared to the preceding year when the company earned N$41m.
“We continue to be the biggest contributor to the Government’s tax system while other mining companies combined, come after us,” Zaamwani-Kamwi notes.
She adds that the company, although pressed by the difficult conditions of creating accessible mining activities onshore against the constraints of nature brought about by the ocean Namdeb, is still looking into ways to continue exploiting the gems.
Zaamwani-Kamwi maintains that the company has now adopted a constant ‘on-toes’ approach that will see them reviewing their business plan to suit circumstances on the ground.
She admits that although the company did very well under the circumstances, last year was not an easy sail for Namdeb, which had to deal with a 31-days’ strike from bargaining employees, resulting in a N$120m loss of revenue.
The company now has short-term projects to be attained by 2020 while the other long-term projects will drag on to 2050.
Zaamwani-Kamwi’s acknowledgments comes a year after the company plunged into a massive N$500m loss due to uncertainties in the global market and slowdown in production in 2010.