The Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) has started the process to select new additional buyers for its rough diamonds.
Namdia General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Lelly Usiku, told the Windhoek Observer recently that a robust and stringent selection process had started after application submissions ended on 30 October.
Ten companies are expected to be selected, bringing the total number of buyers to 15.
In 2016, government and De Beers signed an agreement which resulted in the creation of Namdia, which buys 15 percent of Namibia Diamond Trading Company’s total output.
Namdia’s 2017/2018 Annual Report showed that Namdia successfully conducted 10 sales transactions, whereby it purchased and sold 272,518 carats of rough diamonds.
Namdia’s selling price per carat was US$537 on average compared to US$533 recorded in the year before.
The company sold diamonds to clients from Dubai, India, Israel and Hong Kong.
The diamonds are valued by C-Sixty, which Usiku said remains a Ministry of Mines and Energy prerogative.
Last month, Namdia told the Windhoek Observer that it does not have a contract with the John Walenga’s co-owned C-Sixty Investments, a company that has been evaluating its diamonds for the last two years.
The government diamond marketing and sales company has previously clashed with the Ministry of Mines and Energy over who will honour payments to C-Sixty Investments for its services since it did not engage the company.
C-Sixty, according to media reports, is expected to make between N$600 million and N$1,5 billion over a five-year period.
The development comes as the ministry of mines recently advertised a tender to appoint Government Diamond Valuators, amid speculation it was going ahead with its plans to put the Namdia contract to tender.
Lessons since inception
On some of the lessons the company has learned since its inception two years ago, Usiku said Namdia has realised that it has not been proactive enough with the media, leaving room for misconception.
“We were reactive and going forward we want to be the only source of all information pertaining to Namdia. We have learned that the market is hungry for our goods and the appetite for Namibian goods is huge and we do not have enough supply. We have learned that some people are not interested in our success, but in the few mistakes we have made, which is part of any start-up business,” she said.
Asked about the relationship with mines minister, Tom Alweendo, who in the past has expressed concern over the way the company was conducting its business, Usiku said the company wants to maintain a cordial relationship with its line minister.
“Namdia is a state-owned entity and therefore has to comply with all regulatory and statutory provisions as provided for in the statute which established Namdia. We remain committed to the principles of good corporate governance and the rule of law.”