De Beers' diamond joint venture in Namibia has received government approval to halt production from April 1 for three months due to weak sales, Namdeb said on Wednesday.
Namdeb, owned 50-50 by Namibia's government and De Beers, was in talks with unions and the government over the closure.
Production holiday will go on as planned. We have received an approval from the minister of mines and energy as per the Minerals Act of 1992, Namdeb's General Manager for corporate and external affairs Hilisa Mbako told Reuters.
Mbako said the workers would be paid their salaries during the production holiday. All support services will continue despite the temporary production halt, he said.
De Beers, the world's top producer of rough diamonds, has said it would cope with the hard times brought on by the global financial crisis by significantly reducing output levels, costs, including jobs, and capital expenditure at its mines.
Last month, De Beers' joint venture in Botswana, Debswana Diamond Co., also temporarily shut its mines, and De Beers is in talks with unions in South Africa to cut some 1,000 jobs. (Reporting by Paulus Ashipala, Writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Michael Urquhart)© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved