There is need for Namibia to work towards creating a sustainable diamond polishing sector that can remain in place when diamonds are depleted, an official has said.
Mines minister Tom Alweendo was quoted by a local daily as saying that whatever benefit is derived from diamond mining should be used to prepare the country for the future.
Windhoek has so far issued 15 licences to cut and polish diamonds, with 11 currently active and the balance dormant.
However, there is a moratorium against the issuing of licences for cutting and polishing – something Alweendo said is purely based on limited prospects for those who want to engage in rough stones.
The Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) chief executive Brent Eiseb said the diamond polishing industry can exist after the country's diamonds are depleted, through a holistic approach starting with a friendly environment for business to operate in.
He said the local diamond polishing sector's sustainability will have to deal with competition from dominant players such as India.
Eiseb said Namibia is characterised by a longer production cycle which increases the cost of manufacturing in the country and reduces its speed to market.
The longer the cycle the more the company incurs costs and it delivers to the market later than other players, he said.