Finestar Jewellery & Diamonds held the Inauguration Ceremony of its Diamond Manufacturing Factory in Windhoek, the capital of the Republic of Namibia on 15th July, 2022. This event celebrated the beginning of their beneficiation journey in Namibia which began in April 2021. The operation carries out all the stages of Diamond manufacturing- right from Planning to Polishing of Diamonds primarily mined in Namibia and is looking at building a sustainable business and creating positive impact.
The celebration was studded with distinguished guests from the Namibian & Indian Governments, Namibia Diamond Trading Company
In his keynote address, Guest of Honour, Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines & Energy, Republic of Namibia, emphasised on the importance of the Diamond Mining in Namibia as it continues to play an important role in the growth of the domestic economy. The Diamond Sector represents 25% of Namibia’s exports in terms of value from the mining sector. He said, “therefore as custodians, as stewards of this resource, we need to make sure that we manage this resource with true care and also in the best interest of Namibian people.”
He believes that Namibia should do more than just mining and exporting diamonds and gain maximum value from its key resource by establishing a cutting and polishing industry. Currently there are 11 active cutting and polishing factories in the country and the sector employs over a 900 people. “One of the things we really need to concentrate more on, is to contribute on the skills we require for this industry, from the lowest level of skills to the highest level of skills.” he added.
Training & transferring skills & knowledge to the locals and setting up infrastructure with the best technology in the industry is an important aspect of Finestar’s Beneficiation Plan in Namibia. At present, more than 70% of the staff are Namibians and they are recruiting more local employees and supporting them with resources, practical experience and growth opportunities. Finestar is also setting up a Global Marketing & Distribution Center where Namibians will be trained for the sales of stones that are mined and manufactured in Namibia. They are following the same model of investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and transfer of skills to the locals, that has been successful in their Diamond Manufacturing Factory in Botswana, which was also inaugurated by Hon. Tom Alweendo in February 2020.
Finestar is investing in Namibia and its people to increase Namibia’s role in the Diamond Industry Value Chain. “We feel honoured that Finestar will have the privilege of being a part of Namibia’s economic & social growth.” commented the Founder, Vinod Jain. The Namibia factory processes and polishes rough of fine and unaggregated bands in round as well as fancy shapes where the locals are even making large high-quality stones above 5 Cts and have even manufactured up to 12 Ct stones.
Paul Rowley, Chairperson - NDTC Board, Executive Vice-President - Diamond Trading, De Beers Group, shared his views on the importance of maintaining a strong ecosystem, transparency through technology and leaving a legacy into the future. He threw light on the importance of bringing our cultures together because the industry is a very cross cultural industry and how wonderful it is to be seeing the industry breaking through beneficiation that is not only sustainable but also maintaining the ecosystem. Paul spoke of Finestar’s journey to becoming a Sightholder and its strong progress since. He also appreciated its business philosophy and sharp focus on its core values that are closely aligned with the values integrated in the culture of De Beers and which are vital in building a new diamond world collectively & collaboratively. “It is these shared values, that show that as companies we’re making a real meaningful impact in the world around us.” said Paul. “The shared approach to the business philosophy between Finestar and De Beers goes well beyond just beneficiation. It’s also evident in our shared drive towards using data and technology to be both more efficient and transparent.” He applauded Finestar’s commitment to building long-term & sustainable manufacturing operations in Botswana and Namibia.
High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Namibia H.E. Prashant Agrawal expressed his gratitude to the Government of Namibia and all its institutions & entities for their support in setting up operations in Namibia. On a positive note, he shared, “Namibia’s overall economic engagement has risen sharply. Our bilateral trade has grown significantly and when it comes to exports, India is Namibia’s second largest partner. And equally significant is that Namibia’s exports to India have grown in leaps and bounds.” He stated that a number of the best Indian companies, like Finestar, are calling Namibia home. Affirming collaboration and commitment while seeking to establish long term partnerships he said, “It is an Immense contribution to not only our bilateral partnership but in also helping Namibia establish itself as an important Diamond Processing Center.” Acknowledging the diamond industry’s fondness for the 4Cs, Agrawal said, “For me the 4Cs are slightly different; “Commitment - to your profession, Competence - so that you continue upskilling your core competences & knowledge, Collaboration - this is a fine example, and finally Contribution - to society, our people, our economies and our environment as a whole”
Speaking about their journey in Namibia so far, Finestar’s Director, Gaurav Jain said, ”We came to Namibia with our experiences, culture, and core values, but in these past 15 months after immersing ourselves with the Namibian culture, land, and people we feel amalgamated with our two cultures. We also came with one clear vision – to create a sustainable business in Namibia. Today we have a fully integrated self-sufficient manufacturing operation. We are proud to be entrusted with the highest quality of rough that comes out from Namibia and immensely proud of our artisanal craftsmanship to produce remarkable polished stones. It is an honour to be in Namibia but with that honour also comes responsibility to ensure that its voice is being heard globally.” To create an Emotional Connection with Namibia, Finestar is sharing the stories of its artisans and showcasing ‘Made in Namibia’ as a brand. Every ‘Made in Namibia’ diamond carries a ‘Meet the Artisan’ Certificate which is a note from the artisans to the buyers sharing their personal stories about the positive impact created in their lives. At the event, the artisans were proudly presenting the diamonds they had manufactured and speaking to the guests about their experience and the diamond’s journey as it passed through their hands.
COO Nilesh Chhabria highlighted the Core Values of the organization stating, “Provenance, Refined Cuts, Traceability, Transparency, Technology, People, Sustainability & Social Impact are the pillars of Finestar’s business strategy and the foundation on which we build trust.”
In his closing note, Brent Eiseb, CEO of NDTC admired the passion shown by all the stake holders involved in the Beneficiation in Namibia and remarked, “We’ve got a similar set of values, the ethos, of how we want to approach the long term view. It is very important because that is something we have adapted quite extensively at NDTC in terms of how we collaborate and work closely with the industry and the regulator to create a conducive environment.”