Namibia halts new polishing licenses

Says existing units must first have adequate rough
Namibia halts new polishing licenses

Namibia’s diamond commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya said that no new diamond polishing units would be granted licences until existing producers had sustainable rough supplies.

“I have placed a moratorium on the granting of new diamond cutting and polishing licenses until further notice,” Hamutenya said in a statement. He added that no pending or incoming licenses would be considered

“We have a fledgling cutting and polishing sector in the diamond industry with just three plants operating and four having waited patiently for local diamond supplies, we have to support them,” Kennedy said, adding that some investors set up plants but could not access locally produced stones as demand outstripped supply.

“These factories had been very patient – investing significant resources in equipment, training and even paying workers to sit idle. The ministry deems it necessary to support those companies,” he said.

Until recently Namibia’s diamonds were sold locally exclusively through the London-based Diamond Trading Company (DTC) as no direct sales were allowed.

But last week, De Beers – the country’s main diamond producer – signed an agreement to establish the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), which is expected to supply $300 million worth of rough locally by 2009.

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