Windhoek, Namibia–Namdeb Holdings, the partnership between De Beers and the government of Namibia, announced that it is looking to sell one of its mines.
The Elizabeth Bay mine was commissioned in 1991, employs about 160 people and produced about 200,000 carats of diamonds in 2017.
In 2009 following the economic downturn, the mine was placed on care and maintenance but reopened in 2011.
A recent review concluded that the best way to secure a longer term future for the mine, beyond its current projected life of 2019, is to find a low-cost operator, Namdeb said.
Back in October, The Namibian Sun newspaper reported that De Beers would close four land mining sites in Namibia by 2022. According to the report, Elizabeth Bay is scheduled to be the first to close, shuttering at the end of this year.
A De Beers spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied the closures but did say in a statement released in reaction to the Sun report that Elizabeth Bay, along with the Daberas mine, are “well beyond their original planned life of mine.”(When Elizabeth Bay reopened in 2011, its life of mine originally was projected to 2014, though Namdeb said “continuous innovation” has extended it to the new date of 2019.)
The mine is located along the southwestern coast of Namibia near the town of Lüdertiz, and Namdeb said it has provided high-quality jobs to the people in that town.
“Elizabeth Bay mine continues to play an important role in the development of Namibia’s diamond industry, so we have not taken this decision lightly,” said Namdeb CEO Riaan Burger. “We are constantly reviewing new mine opportunities. As this mine nears the end of its current life, we are focused on finding a buyer that can sustain operations beyond 2019, protect jobs and contribute sustainably to the Namibian economy.”