Namdeb Holdings production increased by 12 percent to 500,000 carats in the third quarter of this year, primarily because of higher mining rates from Debmarine Namibia’s Mafuta vessel,
Anglo American production figures released this week showed.
The Mafuta returned to full production in the third quarter after a period of repairs and maintenance.
Namdeb Holdings is a 50/50 joint venture between Anglo American’s diamond unit, De Beers, and the Namibian Government.
The third quarter figures showed that Debmarine contributed 353,000 carats to the total production figures while the land based production came in at 101,000 carats.
In the second quarter, the group’s land based operations produced 72,000 carats while Debmarine produced 319,000 carats.
In the first quarter, land production volumes came in at 94,000 carats while offshore operations produced 422,000 carats.
Namdeb Holdings total production in 2016 was 1,1 million carats.
This means that with production at 1,3 million carats up to September, Namdeb is going to surpass last year’s total production when fourth quarter production is taken into consideration.
In June this year, Debmarine Namibia launched the N$2,3 billion diamond sampling and exploration vessel, the mv SS Nujoma, to operate off the coast of Namibia, as the diamond producer looks for higher-value gemstones as many of the major onshore deposits have now been depleted.
De Beers Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Cleaver, told the Windhoek Observer in August that the land business is struggling because it’s moving towards the end of its life, adding that it would be difficult to find new deposits on land.
This week, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia said Namdeb had communicated to the union that its land based production will be gradually phased out until 2022.
The union said Namdeb had communicated that Elizabeth Bay, near Luderitz will be shut down at the end of 2018, Daberas at the end of 2019, Sendelingsdrift in 2020 and the main one, Southern Coastal, in 2022.
In a clear sign that the company was ending land based operations, Namdeb has opened up Oranjemund town, which was previously restricted and required police clearance to visit.