Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 September 2010 – The De Beers unit Namgem has revealed that a substantial number of rough and polished diamonds has been stolen from its factory in Okahandja, 67km north-west of the Namibian capital.
Namgem “’ the first diamond cutting company to be established in Namibia “’ is controlled by Namdeb, the joint venture equally owned by the government of Namibia and De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer.
“The Namibian Protected Resource Unit, as well as a Namdeb/De Beers Marine Namibia security investigations team, are working around the clock to investigate the incident,” Namgem chairman Kennedy Hamutenya said in an e-mailed statement here.
Namibia is the world’s biggest source of gems mined at sea, and the diamonds it produces are the world’s best quality, averaging around US$321 a carat, according to the Windhoek-based Institute for Public Policy Research. The government is urging miners to cut and polish more stones locally to create jobs and boost export earnings.
De Beers is 45% owned by Anglo American Plc, 40% by the Oppenheimer family and 15% by the government of Botswana.
Namgem was established in 1999 and employs about 120 people, according to the De Beers’s website. Lazare Kaplan International Inc. of New York operates the plant.