Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 March 2009 – De Beers – the world’s biggest producer of rough diamonds – has reiterated that it is still keen to sell its Namaqualand mine in South Africa once the market improves, after negotiations to do so fell through.
The sale of Namaqualand – which is operated by the De Beers South African unit – was shelved as a result of the downturn in the commodities market in the wake of the financial crisis, which led to a sharp fall in demand for diamonds.
Smaller diamond producer Trans Hex Group Limited announced earlier this month that negotiations with De Beers on the possible sale of the unit had been terminated because of the current uncertain global economic conditions.
De Beers – which is 45% owned by mining group Anglo American – revealed that it had been operating its South African mines, including Namaqualand, at a reduced capacity.
It added that De Beers Consolidated Mines would continue to operate the mine, which it said had done well despite a down turn in the world economy since last year.
“The company is confident that in normal trading conditions, and with the few known new diamond resources on the horizon, and the likely growing demand for diamonds in the future, Namaqualand remains an attractive alluvial deposit to an investor,” said London-based De Beers spokeswoman Lynette Gould in a statement.
De Beers has said it would cope with the hard times brought on by the crisis by significantly reducing output levels at its seven mines in South Africa.