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Namibian Diamonds Can Fetch More Than 14 Times Zimbabwe Stones

Namibia’s marine diamonds can sell for at least triple the price of gems from neighboring Botswana and as much as 14 times those from Zimbabwe, the country’s Diamonds Commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya said.

The “pure carbon, spotless” stones mined from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean are selling for an average of $450 to $700 per carat, Hamutenya said in a phone interview from Windhoek today. That compares with about $150 per carat for diamonds from Botswana, less than $100 for Angolan gems and below $50 for those from Zimbabwe, he said.

“Namibia’s diamonds fetch the highest prices because they are of high quality, pure carbon, spotless and they don’t disintegrate,” said Hamutenya, adding that 98 percent of the country’s stones are of gem quality. “What we don’t have in quantity is made up in quality.”

Namibia’s Atlantic coast area holds an estimated 80 million carats of gems, the world’s richest marine diamond deposits, which were carried to the sea by the Orange River and could be mined beyond 2050, Hamutenya said. Namdeb Diamond Corp., which is jointly owned by the Namibian government and Anglo American Plc’s De Beers, produced 1.76 million carats in 2013, up 6 percent on 2012 output.

“There are indications that Namdeb wants to extend its mining license by another 25 years, and the only explanation for this could be they have discovered significant deposits,” Hamutenya said.

Talks between the Namibian government and Anglo American on a new sales and marketing agreement to replace a deal that ended last December will start “soon,” he said.

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