Namibia Halts Supply of Rough Diamonds to Leviev’s Company

Namibia’s state diamond company has announced its decision to halt the supply of uncut diamonds to Israeli businessman Lev Leviev’s company. The southwest African country’s Minister of Mines and Energy said that the move comes in response to Leviev’s inability to meet the government’s legal requirements. Leviev’s firm, LLD, had contracted to buy the diamonds from Namibia for a five-year period.

The Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), a partnership between the country’s government and the De Beers diamond firm, which manages over 40% of the world’s supply of rough diamonds, will discontinue providing diamonds to LLD. According to the newspaper The Namibian, a spokesman for the NDTC, Brian Eiseb, stated, “Due to intense competition for rough diamonds, NDTC is not in a position to meet the needs of all companies wishing to receive rough diamond supply from NDTC.” Eiseb explained that his firm carried out a selection process last year based on “criteria aimed at the long-term viability and sustainability of the cutting and polishing industry in Namibia.”

The newspaper additionally reported that the managing director of LLD in Namibia, Kombandayetu Kampwanga, “disputed the reasoning behind the rejection” of LLD, and expressed his hope that an agreement would still be reached between Leviev’s firm and the Namibia Diamond Trading Company. It was reported that the cessation of the supply of Namibian rough diamonds caused LLD to have to send 150 employees home on unpaid leave. While sources close to LLD corroborated the report, they claimed that the standoff was the result of differences with De Beers. A little over a month ago, Kampwanga denied rumors that LLD might terminate its Namibian business operations.

De Beers and Leviev have been involved in a dispute over the international supply of rough diamonds. When De Beers controlled over 80% of the world market share, Leviev challenged their monopoly through efforts to expand LLD’s share.


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