India’s KGK Group becomes first major international investor in downstream diamond value adding
An Indian company that deals with both of the world’s two biggest diamond producers, De Beers and Alrosa of Russia, last week officially opened its diamond cutting and polishing facility in Windhoek. The factory has been in operation since the middle of last year when it first became a sightholder of the government-owned Namibia Diamond Trading Company.
India’s KGK Group has been dealing in gemstones for more than a century. Currently operated and managed by the founding Kothari family’s third generation business leaders, the group is present in 19 countries worldwide, now including Namibia. The KGK Group has subsidiaries in South Africa and Botswana, and are registered sightholders in both countries.
The local investment has been effected through SKY Investments, a company listed on the De Beers global sightholder’s list under the KGK banner.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, KGK’s group managing director, Mr Sandeep Kothari said that gem diamonds cut and polished in the new Namibian factory will be marketed through the group’s distribution and marketing channels in eighteen other countries worldwide. Furthermore, SKY Investments has already identified five Namibian apprentices who will receive intensive training at the group’s main factory in India.
The Windhoek factory runs on a staff complement of 53 people, envisaged to increase by another 30 as production ramps up.
Acknowledging the role of the Indian High Commissioner to Namibia, HE Kumar Tuhin, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Tom Alweenda said “It is my understanding that the KGK Group is an accomplished rough diamond beneficiator in the southern African region, having actively manufactured rough diamonds in South Africa for over 20 years and more recently in Botswana. We are pleased that you have chosen to extend your operations to Namibia and we welcome you wholeheartedly.”
“The Namibian Government remains committed to the vision of downstream diamond beneficiation aimed at boosting employment creation and local value addition activities by creating a healthy investment climate for our esteemed investors and sightholders,” concluded Minister Alweendo.
Captured at the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Tom Alweendo (right) and the Group Managing Director of India’s KGK, Mr Sandeep Kothari (left). Observing the formalities are former Diamond Commissioner, Kennedy Hamutenya (left) and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Mr Simeon Negumbo.