Namibia Desert Diamonds or Namdia is in the process of adding at least 10 new clients to buy its rough diamonds, to bring the total number of clients to 15.
Spokesperson, Usi //Hoebeb, told the Windhoek Observer this week that 10 companies may be selected to buy rough diamonds from Namdia over a two-year period, after the company invited bids from potential buyers last week.
Namdia currently sells to five clients located in traditional diamond centres in Dubai, India, Israel, Belgium, USA and Hong Kong.
“All these clients are industry leaders, who have exemplary reputations in the industry,” //Hoebeb.
Namdia has been heavily criticised for its lack of transparency when selling diamonds to international buyers.
In June, Mines and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo, expressed his frustration with the secretive nature of Namdia.
Alweendo admitted that the State-owned diamond marketing company is not transparent in the way it sells the country’s rough diamonds.
“I also agree that there is need to find a better and transparent way on how they sell those rough diamonds. They cannot only sell to people whom they approach, what if there are other people who want to buy our diamonds,” the minister said.
//Hoebeb said there is no difference in the way Namdia aims to sell diamonds this time around to what they did previously.
“To put this into context, we may want to go back a little in time. In 2016, the Government Task Team (GTT) – an inter-governmental team – headed by the permanent secretaries of the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Ministry of Finance, was mandated to embark on an international roadshow to identify clients best suited to buy Namibia’s unique assortment of diamonds.
“During this process, 20 clients were selected, ranked and categorized, of which Namdia currently sells to five. The number of clients sold to has increased over time as Namdia’s proficiency, capacity and logistics have improved gradually since inception.”
He said Namdia has received numerous requests from a plethora of potential clients and the board of directors had resolved to open the process up to new clients.
“This is the start of that process to seek new clients.”
//Hoebeb said the selection process will be very robust and stringent and will commence after a thorough due diligence process, and compliance with the Kimberley Process International Certification Scheme for rough diamonds has been conducted.
//Hoebeb said the new bidding process, will enable Namdia to explore other potential clients to allow the company to achieve its objective of maximizing its share of the entitlement of 15 percent of Namdeb’s run-of-mine production, which it purchases from the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC).
He said the application for new buyers is open to all companies, with the exception of NDTC sightholders.