Namibia Diamond Trading to Award New Sales Contracts Next Year

Namibia Diamond Trading Co., a joint venture between the government of the southern African nation and De Beers, will award new rough diamond sales contracts to sightholders next year.

The 12 existing sightholders, who signed three-year deals to 2015, may have their contracts renewed or they could be replaced by other applicants, Namibia Diamond Trading Chief Executive Officer Shihaleni Ndjaba said in a telephone interview yesterday. The number of sightholders could also increase if the trading company boosts gem sales, he said.

“The number of sightholders will depend on the projected availability of rough diamonds for the coming three years, so the number could be more, or less,” Ndjaba said. Over the past three years, the trading company has offered sight holders about $280 million of diamonds a year, he said.

Output by Namdeb Diamond Corp., which is jointly owned by the Namibian government and Anglo American Plc’s De Beers, rose 6 percent 1.76 million carats in 2013. Namibia, the world’s largest producer of marine diamonds, said in December that talks with London-based Anglo American on the sale and marketing of gems will take place early this year.

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, sells stones to customers known as sightholders, which until now have been chosen for their financial standing, business reputation and marketing ability. The Anglo American unit said earlier this month that it will put greater emphasis on buyers’ track records in making purchases at previous sales events known as sights.

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