Diamond output jumps
Despite a slow start because of problems surrounding the re-commissioning of the Elizabeth Mine, year to date diamond output has increased significantly.
Figures released by the central bank this week show that almost 1.2 million carats have been produced in the first nine months up from 987,000 carats in the same period last year.
To date, 1.22 million carats worth N$5.7 billion have been exported compared to 895,000 carats worth N$3.8 billion in the corresponding period in 2011.
Bank of Namibia Governor Ipumbu Shiimi announced Wednesday that the economy grew by 8.9% in the second quarter of this year spurred by increased production, particularly in the diamond sub sector and uranium coupled with favourable commodity prices.
The increase in diamond output will come as a surprise to many after diamond producer, Namdeb announced in the first half of this year that it had missed production targets because of problems associated with the slow commissioning of the rehabilitated Elizabeth Bay Mine.
Briefing journalists during a media visit to the mine in June, general manager, Riaan Burger said Namdeb had produced 198,000 carats, year to date, 30% less than the budgeted 283,000 carats. But despite the slow start to the year, Burger was optimistic that they were on track to meet year-end profitability as the mine (Elizabeth Bay) was now producing well.
Namdeb injected around N$70 million for the rehabilitation of the mine located south of Lüderitz after shutting it down in 2009 due to profitability problems. With the recommissioned mine, Namdeb expects to produce around 300,000 carats there alone out of just under 600,000 carats expected from all land-based operations.