February 9, 2018 / 9:07 AM / 7 months ago

De Beers Namibia diamond venture puts mine up for sale

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture between the Namibian government and Anglo American’s (AAL.L) diamond unit De Beers, has put the Elizabeth Bay Mine up for sale, a company spokeswoman said on Friday.

The sale comes three weeks after the diamond miner wrote to staff offering voluntary redundancies that will affect at least 130 of its 1,700-strong workforce.

“Following a recent review, it was concluded that the best way to secure a longer future for the mine, beyond the current projected 2019 life, is to find a more suitable operator,” spokeswoman Pauline Thomas said in a statement.

The mine, located along the southwestern coast of Namibia near the town of Luderitz, produced around 200,000 carats in 2017 and employs approximately 160 people.

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 the southern African country’s export earnings.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; writing by Nqobile Dludla; editing by James Macharia and Jason Neely

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