Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 April, 2008 – The government of Namibia is reported to be on the verge of clinching a deal with the De Beers Group for a direct and significant proportion of the group’s marine diamond operations off the coast of the southern African country.
Quoting the “New Era” newspaper here, allAfrica.com said that once finalised the agreement would reform the entire partnership structure on which the Namibian government and De Beers had operated the diamond industry since the formation of Namdeb in 1994.
Presidential economic adviser Leevi Hungamo said the negotiations were “very advanced”.
They would result in the creation of a new 50/50 joint venture holding company between De Beers and the government. The yet-to-be named company would take over the ownership of Namdeb and De Beers Marine Namibia.
“This new structure would give the Namibian government more than 50 percent shares in De Beers Marine,” said Hungamo. Currently it owns an indirect 30% in De Beers Marine Namibia, through Namdeb, the 50/50 joint venture company with De Beers group. The De Beers group directly owns the other 70%.
De Beers group spokesman Daniel Kali confirmed the negotiations, but said it was too early for the company to comment, as the discussions were still ongoing.
An increased shareholding in De Beers Marine Namibia will see more money flowing into the Namibian state’s coffer, as off-shore diamond mining now outstrips land-based mining operations.