Diamond giant De Beers is building a new diamond mining exploration vessel — the largest of its kind — for Debmarine Namibia.
The 176-m-long vessel that will cost $142-million to build is expected to join the fleet within three years. Debmarine Namibia is a 50:50 joint venture with the Namibian government.
“There is a great amount of potential in Namibia’s marine diamond deposits and this new vessel will support our strategy to continue to grow our offshore operations,”CEO Bruce Cleaver said.
The company currently operates five diamond mining vessels and one exploration vessel off the country’s southern coast.
Cleaver also said that the construction project was undertaken to also ensure that operations continue “to 2050 and beyond”. This move will also help the land-based mining operations within the country that appeared to be reaching their peak, while Namdeb Holdings announced that it was looking for a “more suitable low-cost operator” to buy its Elizabeth Bay mine.
According to the media reports, the company will be spending N$2 billion on construction of the vessel and a further N$5 billion on equipment and subsequent fit-out.
The vessel, which will be 2m longer than the largest vessel currently in Debmarine Namibia’s fleet, is expected to work alongside the other mining vessels in the fleet to recover diamonds off Namibia’s Atlantic coastline.
Kleven Verft has been selected to construct the new vessel. It had also built the 12 000 t, 113-m-long SS Nujoma, which was commissioned last June.