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Windhoek to host diamond conference

Leaders in the diamond industry will come together in Windhoek next week for the two-day International Diamond Conference 2015.

The conference, which will take place from 23 to 24 November, is themed: ‘Omugongo, A Cut Above The Rest.’ Omugongo by definition is a great tree under which society comes together to discuss matters affecting the community in a democratic manner.

The conference will address challenges facing diamond beneficiation in Southern Africa and how the industry can be made viable and sustainable.

The government has a 50-50 joint venture partnership with the De Beers Group and together they have implemented a long-term economic development plan that aims to build a self-sustainable national gem-cutting industry, according to a statement issued this week

This will ensure the sustainability of an industry that accounts for about 30% of Namibia’s annual export revenue, bringing funds into the country to improve infrastructure, childhood education and healthcare in local communities.

“Namibia’s Atlantic coast area holds an estimated 80 million carats of gems, which were carried to the sea by the Orange River and could be mined beyond 2050,” said Kennedy Hamutenya, the diamond commissioner in the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Minister of mines and energy Obeth Kandjoze will open the conference and industry expert Chaim Even-Zohar will be coordinating the event. Speakers include: Walter Chidakwa, Zimbabwean minister of mines and mining development; Shihaleni E Ndjaba, CEO at Namibia Diamond Trading Company (Pty) Ltd; Burhan Seber, president of the Diamond Manufacturers Association of Namibia and Kombadayedu Kapwanga, president of the Chamber of Mines.

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