WINDHOEK, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's biggest diamond miner, Namdeb, announced Friday that it has put one of its four mines on sale.
Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture company between the Namibian government and Anglo American's diamond unit De Beers, said it is seeking a buyer for its Elizabeth Bay Mine to secure its long-term development.
Elizabeth Bay Mine, located along the south-western coast of Namibia, was commissioned in 1991. It produced around 200,000 carats last year, employing about 160 people.
About 20 percent of Namibia's export earnings are from diamonds.
"Following a recent review, it was concluded that the best way to secure a longer future for the mine, beyond the current projected 2019 life, is to find a more suitable operator that could allow the mine to continue to contribute to Namibia and Luderitz through continued employment and economic activity," company spokesperson Pauline Thomas said in a statement.
Namdeb Chief Executive Officer Riaan Burger said the decision to put the mine on sale was not easy.
"Elizabeth Bay Mine continues to play an important role in the development of Namibia's diamond industry, so we have not taken the decision lightly," Burger said.
"We are constantly reviewing new mining opportunities. As this mine nears the end of its current life, we are focused on finding a buyer that can sustain operations beyond 2019, protect jobs and contribute sustainably to the Namibian economy."
In January, Namdeb announced to start an early retirement or voluntary separation exercise targeting at least 130 workers, in an effort to ensure sustainability at its land-based operations.