On 2 October 2020, Namdeb announced the finalisation of the transaction for the sale of Elizabeth Bay Mine (‘EBay’) to Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining Proprietary (Proprietary) Limited (SDM). The closing of the transaction allowed for SDM to take full ownership of the mine as Namdeb steps down. The company hosted a symbolic handover ceremony on 14 October 2020 to bid farewell to the historic mine.
Elizabeth Bay Mine, situated in the Karas Region close to Lüderitz, has been in existence since 1911 after the first diamond was discovered near Kolmanskop (east of Lüderitz) in 1908. Operations were interrupted a number of times due to WW1 and the Great Depression, after which it was dormant for many years until it was re-opened in 1991, under the Consolidated Diamond Mining (CDM). A further closure followed in 2009 as a result of the Global Financial Crisis. After an upgrade to the processing plant, Namdeb re-opened the operation in November 2011 and it continued to contribute to the company’s production until September 2018, when the mine was placed on care and maintenance. A total of over 4 million carats was produced between 1991 and 2018.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr. Riaan Burger, Chief Executive Officer of Namdeb, said: “It is exactly 97 years since the mining license of Elizabeth Bay is being passed onto a new owner. Namdeb was very intentional in leaving this asset in good and trusting hands; a local Namibian business that is dedicated to Namibia and her people.”
Over the years, EBay mine has been instrumental in uplifting the livelihoods of the Lüderitz community. The Lüderitz Town council expressed gratitude for the revival of the mine as the local economy was negatively affected by the closure of the operation and further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 200 job opportunities were offered through the EBay Mine.
In his speech, one of the directors of SDM, Mr. Zacky Nujoma, said that Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining will ensure that their operations align with NDP targets: “Our long-term strategy will be centred on human resource development with the focus to intensify value addition to make the sector more profitable and resilient, by establishing mining value chain activities”.
In closing, Mr. Riaan Burger also stated that although Namdeb is no longer mining in the area, they will continue to have a presence in Lüderitz through its Contractor Treatment Facility (CTF) which contributes to the socio-economic development of the community. Riaan Burger closed off by wishing the Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining the best with this new and exciting venture.