WINDHOEK — Leviev Group expects project finance to cover about three-quarters of a N$20bn (R20bn) plan to mine phosphates from the Atlantic Ocean floor off the coast of Namibia.

Financing "wouldn’t be that difficult," Kombayedu Kapwanga, MD of Leviev Group’s LL Namibia Phosphates unit, said in an interview on Tuesday. "About 25% of that will come from our own internal resources and the rest from project financiers."

Leviev Group, the US holding company of the family of Israeli diamond merchant Lev Leviev, received permission from Namibia to build a $20m pilot processing plant before the completion of an environmental impact study by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and Foundation for Scientific, and Industrial Research.

Should the government lift a marine phosphate mining ban, Leviev Group would aim to start commercial production from the estimated 2-billion tonne deposit in 2018, Mr Kapwanga said.

The phosphate could supply agricultural markets in India and South America in addition to southern Africa, he said.

"For us the bigger market is in India and Latin America, the regions with bigger agricultural industries."

Bloomberg

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