“In the event that there are no takers of Elizabeth Bay Mine, we will go ahead and close the mine. We have other mines that we are focusing on and Elizabeth Bay Mine is not a priority at the moment for Namdeb from a cost perspective,” company spokeswoman, Pauline Thomas, told the Windhoek Observer.
Namdeb announced on 9 February that it was seeking a buyer for Elizabeth Bay Mine and associated mining licence areas.
The mine, located along the southwestern coast of Namibia near the town of Luderitz, produced around 200,000 carats last year, about 11 percent of Namdeb Holdings’ total production of 1,8 million carats.
It employs approximately 160 people.
Namdeb also announced that it had appointed Standard Bank as its financial adviser on the proposed sale process of Elizabeth Bay Mine and associated mining licence areas.
The diamond miner believes the best way to secure a longer future for the mine, beyond the current projected 2019 life, is to find a more suitable operator with low operating costs.
“Elizabeth Bay mine, which was commissioned in 1991…has significant potential in the mining licence areas associated with the onshore and marine operations,” Thomas said.
The sale by Namdeb may pave the way for world diamond leader, the Russian mining company, Alrosa, to enter Namibia with its “sophisticated exploration technology.”
Last year, the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume indicated its interest to expand mining in Africa after 2021, as the cost of prospecting on the continent is nine times lower than in Russia.
The company’s current African operations are mainly in Angola, but it is also prospecting for diamonds in Botswana.
A union official said in October that Namdeb planned to close four mines by 2022 as the diamond producer looks for higher-value gemstones offshore now that many major onshore deposits have been depleted.
Elizabeth Bay Mine was one of the four mines mentioned by the union official. The others were Daberas, Sendelingsdrift and Southern Coastal.
Diamond mining generates 20 percent of Namibia’s export earnings.