De Beers’ diamond venture in Namibia axing at least 130 jobs

Namibia's top diamond producer, Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture company between the country’s government and De Beers, has begun offering early and voluntary retirement to at least 130 of its 1,700 workers, Xinhua reports.

According to the agency, the move seeks to ensure the sustainability of Namdeb land-based operations, which is facing potential sales, Mineworkers Union of Namibia Oranjemund branch chairman, Mbidhi Shavuka, told The Namibian Sun (subs. required) in November.

Namdeb's operations include land-based mines, as well as Debmarine Namibia, which searches for diamonds offshore. Land-based production reached 404,000 carats in 2016, while output at Debmarine — which includes five vessels that dig diamonds from the ocean floor — stood at 1.2 million carats.

Diamond mining accounts for roughly 20% of the southern African country’s export earnings.