Diamond mining rakes in N$10.87 billion


Diamond mining revenue topped N$10.87 billion in the previous financial year, the latest statistics released by the Chamber of Mines in their latest annual report shows.
Namdeb Holdings produced 1.8 million carats of diamonds of which 1.273 million were produced by Debmarine Namibia. “This is the largest annual production recorded to date by Debmarine, breaking the production record for their third year in a row” Werner Duvenhage, president of the Chamber of Mines said.
Namdeb also increased production in 2014 totalling 612,265 carats against a target of 570,427 carats.
“The improved production by Namdeb was attributed to favourable exchange rates and diamond prices in 2014 as well as continued reinvestments made by the company,” he added.
Statistics also show that the diamond sub sector posted a growth of 11.1% in real value added and posted record production levels, although it didn’t offset the contractions posted by Uranium and other mining activities.
The total revenue from Namibia’s overall mining was N$21.62 billion in the last financial year.
In response to depressed commodity markets Duvenhage said several mines in Namibia underwent restructuring exercises. “Rossing retrenched 204 workers on August 1, 2014.  The restructuring exercise was aimed to sustain operations, avoid possibility of placing the mine on care and maintenance, or worse mine closure.  Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation also retrenched 126 workers towards the second quarter of 2014,” He said.  About 30 employees were rehired on fixed term contracts to carry on the care and maintenance of the mine, ongoing exploration and, research and development, Duvenhage added.
 “The commodity market created shock waves through the international and local economy especially for uranium when the price dropped to a nine year low of U$28/lb in June 2014. The depressed market for uranium has forced major mining companies across the globe to scale back on production and some to shut down productions”
Mining royalties paid increased significantly from N$1.12 billion in 2013 to N$1.29 billion in the last financial year. The profits paid tax went from N$1.64 billion in 2013 to N$2.1 billion.
Duvenhage thanked the previous minister Isak Katali for laying the foundation for new Mines minister Obeth Kandjoze. “We are confident that together we shall grow the industry in leaps and bounds,” He said.
 “Although the sector may have experienced a contraction in real value added, there are many economic spin offs and contributions which are not reflected in mining contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The mining industry contracted by 4.6% in 2014 and made a direct contribution of 13% to the country’s GDP. The contraction was as a result of reduction in overall output by the sector, particularly for uranium,” CEO of the Chamber of Mines, Veston Malango said.
He added that continuous investments were made by the diamond sector during the last financial year.
“Vedanta Resources PIc announced its decision to covert the Scorpion Zinc Refinery at an investment of N$1.6 million to process sulphide zinc concentrates,” He said.