Synthetic diamonds pose a threat

05 December 2019 | Business

Namdeb managing director Riaan Burger says although synthetic diamonds are a threat to his company; it is not something he is losing sleep over.

He made the comment in a recent interview with Namibian Sun on the eve of Namdeb's 25th anniversary.

“Synthetic diamonds are a real threat to the industry, to diamond producers and to diamond-producing countries. Countries like Namibia and Botswana derive a significant amount of their income from diamonds,” said Burger.

“We need to talk about the special role that diamonds play.”

According to him, synthetic diamonds pose a risk but they have a place in the market.

“Laboratory diamonds also have a place in the market but it does not hold a special significance to people,” he argued.

Burger called on those in the diamond trade to work together.

“If we work together, if we as producers also tell what diamonds have brought to us and as diamond-producing countries, we can counter the threat [posed] by synthetic diamonds and in the long term create more value from the alluvial diamonds that we mine,” Burger said.

De Beers, Namdeb's 50% shareholder, has a stake in a company producing synthetic diamonds. Despite that involvement, De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver maintains that laboratory-grown diamonds will never outshine natural diamonds.

“De Beers is committed to natural diamond mining. We continue to promote and [stay] focused on our natural business and give our consumers what we think they want,” he said last month.

Cleaver said although De Beers has a stake in the production of synthetic diamonds, it entered the sector only to capitalise on the opening in the synthetic diamonds market. Natural diamonds will, however, continue to be their primary trade.

He added that De Beers would put aside about US$10 billion (N$145 billion) for capital investments and the marketing of natural diamonds in the next decade.

OGONE TLHAGE

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