Namibia diamond miner's extraordinary tax burden

Attempts by Namdeb, a 50-50 joint venture between Anglo American and the Namibian government with a history dating back to the 1920s, to lobby the Southern African nation about its heavy tax burden appears to be going nowhere.

Bloomberg quotes Kennedy Hamutenya, the country’s diamond commissioner, as saying: “We can’t entertain an idea that diamonds should be taxed at the same rate as other mining companies. We made a conscious decision to set the tax rate at 55 percent because those diamonds are highly valuable and Namibians should share in the benefits."

Namdeb, the second largest employer in Namibia, had been in talks to cut the tax rate to 37.5% – the level other mining companies operating in the country pay.

Namdeb, a pioneer of marine diamond mining, also has to contend with royalties amounting to 10% of turnover.

Namibia has the richest known marine diamond deposits in the world, estimated at more than 80 million carats.

They represent approximately 64% of Namdeb's total diamond production of 1.7 million carats and 90% of its diamond resources.

95% of the diamonds produced are gem quality, the best in the world according to company.