WINDHOEK, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Namibian government is considering waiving the payment of royalties by the county's largest diamond company to prolong the life span of its operations as well as save thousands of jobs, Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo said Thursday.
Alweendo said discussions are at an advanced state with Ministry of Finance counterpart Calle Schlettwein to waive the payment of royalties by Namdeb, a public private partnership company to allow it to expand its operations onshore following the depletion of diamonds offshore.
The Namibian government owns 50 percent in the company while a private Investor DeBeers owns the remainder.
Namdeb is pushing for the exploitation of diamond resources at sea following the depletion of diamonds on land as a means to improve production and also sustain and prolong its operations which are under threat from costly mining activities on land where the resource quality has also gone down.
"The idea has not been to take of paying royalties completely but to suspend for some time to use that investment for the company to expand their onshore mining," Alweendo said.
He added that, "The idea is to save as many jobs as possible and in the process put ourselves in a position where we can get more royalties in future with prolonged operations instead of thinking short term."