Debmarine Namibia last year contributed N$1.9 billion to government coffers in the form of mineral royalties and company tax, while N$3.9 billion was paid out to the providers of good and services.
In his business update to company stakeholders, Debmarine Namibia’s Chief Financial Officer, Willy Mertens, however, said royalties and company taxes paid to government were 20 percent lower than prior year from N$10.2 billion generated during the period under review.
“The company had paid N$ 1.9 billion to government in the form of mineral royalties and company tax. At the same time, the company paid out N$ 3.9 billion to the providers of good and services while retaining N$1.3 billion of the earning for future investment,” he said.
Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive Otto Shikongo said the company had contributed 1.29 million carats, 76 percent of the total holding company production in 2019.
“Debmarine Namibia the world leader in marine diamond recovery contributed 1.29 million carats, 76 percent of the total holding company production in 2019, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year due to the planned maintenance of the largest recovery vessel, Mafuta. The vessel contributes about 45 percent of Debmarine Namibia’s production hence the significant impact after her scheduled maintenance every two and half years,” he said.
He said volatility on the international market such as the US-China trade tensions had negatively impacted on global sales of diamonds.
“A range of challenges for rough diamond trading conditions influenced the financial performance such as stock market volatility and US-China trade tensions resulted in lower than expected holiday retail sales, which led to higher than anticipated stock levels in the industry’s midstream at the start of 2019,” Shikongo said.
He, however, said the company was optimistic about the global outlook for the sector.
“The long-term outlook for global diamond demand remains positive, with significant growth prospects in emerging markets and opportunities to further grow new segments in existing markets,” the Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive said.
He said construction of its N$7 billion Mafuta vessel being constructed by global shipbuilder Damen in Romania was progressing well.
“The new vessel is being built to highest safety and environmental standards. The N$7 billion vessel is expected to create more than 161 new jobs alongside Debmarine Namibia’s current workforce of 975 employees and contribute additional 500,000 carats annually to Debmarine Namibia’s production, an increase of approximately 35 per cent on current production,” Shikongo said.
He said despite a slump in production, the company invested N$13 million towards Social Investment, which focuses on community development initiatives in the areas of women and girl-child development, education, health and welfare, sports and SME development through the Debmarine-Namdeb Foundation.
“Among the worthy recipients were the University of Namibia and the youth sport initiative Bridging.The Gap, which brought together over 500 learners from all 14 regions for under 17 netball and Under 15 football games. Debmarine Namibia continues to sponsor Netball Namibia; the sponsorship contributed to the national team ‘Desert Jewels’ winning the M1 Six Nations Cup in Singapore,” Shikongo said.
Mines minister, Tom Alweendo during the engagement said that the Ministry of Mines and Chamber of Mines of Namibia are busing finalising the Mining Character that will explain what the mining sector has contributed to the country.
“The charter would look at value addition and procuring of local services amongst others. I would like to assure the mining sector that government will continue to remove all that hinders the mining sector in order for it to be competitive. We will also offer you the support you need promote natural diamonds.”