Lev Leviev's LLD Diamonds Namibia reportedly laid off its entire workforce earlier this week due to the fact that De Beers' Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) did not renew the diamond cutting and polishing plant's rough supply contract for the new 2012-2015 sightholder contract period.
"We handed out retrenchment letters to the 150 workers today," Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD) Managing Director Kombadayedu Kapwanga told AFP. The workers were sent on unpaid leave on June 10 as a precursor to the retrenchment.
Kapwanga said there were no immediate plans to shut down the plant as negotiations with De Beers and the NDTC were still ongoing. Kapwanga added that he hoped the company would be able to secure a local supply of rough diamonds again and re-appoint its employees.
A total of 14 sightholders applied to have their rough supply buying contracts renewed with the NDTC, of which only LLD was turned down. For the current three-year rough supply contract period, Namibia has 13 NDTC sightholders.
According to AFP, NDTC spokesman Brent Eiseb last month justified the company's decision saying there was intense competition in the sector.
Namibia was established in Windhoek in 2004 and was then considered one of Africa's largest diamond manufacturing plants.