Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture between the Namibian government and Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers, plans to close four mines by 2022 in the southern African country, a Namibian newspaper quoted a union official on Tuesday as saying.
The Namibian Sun quoted Mineworkers Union of Namibia Oranjemund branch chairperson Mbidhi Shavuka as saying that the union would talk to Namdeb to keep workers employed for as long as possible.
“We also understand that it is the nature of the resource; diamonds are finite,” he said.
The mines affected are Elizabeth Bay Mine, which 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, Shavuka said.
Namdeb’s spokesperson, Pauline Thomas, declined comment when contacted by Reuters. Anglo American spokesmen in London were not immediately available to comment.
Diamonds have for decades been very important to the Namibian economy as they generate 20 percent of its foreign export earnings.
In June, De Beers launched the world’s largest diamond exploration ship 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.
Reporting by Nyasha Nyaugnwa; Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by James Macharia and Adrian Croft