Namibia extended a diamond sales agreement with Anglo American Plc to June, allowing the company to continue marketing the gems as it awaits talks on a new deal.
Negotiations have been pushed back to early 2014, Kennedy Hamutenya, director of diamond affairs at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said today by phone. The new accord will replace one signed in 2007, which was originally due to expire in December.
“The extension is aimed at giving us time to have comprehensive negotiations and to make sure we cover all the angles,” Hamutenya said.
The Namibian government and London-based Anglo American are equal shareholders in Namdeb Diamond Corp., a producer of the gems in the southern African country. The 2007 agreement allows Anglo to sell the stones through Diamond Trading Co., the trading arm of its De Beers unit, until the end of 2013.
Namibia has completed “internal preparations” and expects talks to start in the first quarter, according to Hamutenya.
“Our negotiating team has had to familiarize itself with various issues concerning diamonds, conducting visits to other countries and looking at best practices,” he said, declining to comment on the government’s negotiating position, including on the term of future sales agreements.
Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali said in August that talks with Anglo would address sales only and not the shareholding structure.