Namibia has about 1,5 billion carats on the seabed, which will be important as the land-based resources deplete, Chamber of Namibia president Kombadayedu Kapwanga told the international diamond conference in Windhoek recently. “We have a large deposit at sea,” said Kapwanga.
Namibia is regarded as a world leader in marine diamond mining and has pioneered a lot of methods now being used worldwide.
The conference mainly centered on diamond value addition or beneficiation as it is commonly called.
Cutting and polishing factories have failed in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa and various speakers have elaborated on this issue during the two-day conference, which ended yesterday.
Kapwanga said the Namibian government must provide infancy protection to the factories just as it has done with the cement and poultry industries.
Roman Grynberg, professor of economics and management services at the University of Namibia, told the conference that despite the desire to develop a fully-fledged industry, Namibia and Botswana do not have competitive advantages compared to countries like India.
Production costs in India are half those of Botswana, he said.
According to Grynberg, other factors that make Namibia and Botswana less competitive are lack of skills, costs of production and higher labour costs. Transport costs, with most diamonds being transported by air, is another cost factor, Grynberg said.
He explained if these countries want to succeed in diamond cutting and polishing, they must work together as producers and not compete.