Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 March 2009 – The De Beers Group – the world’s top producer of rough diamonds – has received government approval to halt production at its Namibian mine from 1 April 2009 for a period of three months due to weak sales.
In making this announcement, Namdeb – a 50-50 joint venture between the Namibian government and De Beers – said it had been involved in talks with unions and the government over the closure.
“The production holiday will go on as planned. We have received an approval from the minister of mines and energy as per the Minerals Act of 1992,” Namdeb general manager for corporate and external affairs Hilisa Mbako told Reuters.
Mbako said the workers would be paid their salaries during the production holiday. All support services would continue despite the temporary production halt, he added.
De Beers is on record as having said that it would cope with the hard times brought on by the global financial crisis by significantly reducing output levels and costs, including jobs, and capital expenditure at its mines.
Last month Debswana – the De Beers joint venture with the government of Botswana – also temporarily shut its mines, and De Beers is in talks with unions in South Africa to cut some 1 000 jobs.