Shortage of good quality raw coloured gemstone in value chain
WINDHOEK, 13 OCT (NAMPA) – Although more raw stones of Namibia's coloured gemstones are being traded, the actual value added to them has dropped over the years.
This concern was raised by the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga when she officially opened a one-day international gemmology conference here on Thursday.
“Today, the coloured gemstone sector is more fragmented than it was in 1990,” she added.
There are fewer Namibians creating jewellery with Namibian-mined coloured gemstones than 15 years ago.
The value chain, she added: “Is suffering from a shortage of supply of raw gemstones,” saying that despite the valuable contribution of the small-scale miners, there are not enough good quality stones being fed into the processing and manufacturing stages of the value chain.
Shilunga noted that in order to address this challenge a partnership project will be formed in 2018.
This project will study the development needs of small-scale miners, concentrating on one pilot region. It will identify skills development as well as technology improvement needs.
The deputy minister encouraged companies in the gemstone industry to commit themselves to the genuine empowerment of the local population by being vigilant about the needs of the area in which they operate.
According to Shilunga, the quality, diversity and uniqueness of Namibian coloured gemstones has made the country an acclaimed supplier of tourmaline, beryls and garnets amongst others, on the African continent.