Future of diamond mining in the sea – by Magreth Nunuhe (The Southern Times – June 26, 2017)


WALVIS BAY – Having the richest marine diamond deposits in the world, Namibia has set its sights on the ocean as the output of marine diamond production continue to enormously outstrip production of the precious stones on land.

Last year, marine diamond production yielded 1.17 million carats, while land operations generated 403,000 carats, contributing over billions of dollars in revenue. Namibian diamond mining takes place at around 120 to 140 metres below sea level.

In the next 15 years, it is estimated that diamond production on land in Namibia will run out and that 95 percent of diamond production will come from the sea. With approximations that the 3,700 miles squared concession area at sea on the south-west coast of Southern Africa will provide plenty of gemstones for the next 50 years, De Beers Group and Debmarine Namibia inaugurated the world’s most advanced exploration vessel, dubbed the mv SS Nujoma at the coastal town of Walvis Bay on 15 June 2017.

“We are delighted to officially welcome the mv SS Nujoma to our fleet. The important collaboration between all parties involved, and the exceptional efforts of those who worked on the vessel’s construction, fitting and sea trials, has seen this impressive vessel delivered three months ahead of schedule and on budget,” said Debmarine Namibia CEO, Otto Shikongo.

The mv SS Nujoma was named after the Founding President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma and was purchased at a record N$2.3 billion (US$157 million). The 12,000 tonne, diesel-electric powered vessel has advanced exploration capabilities, incorporates a range of unique technologies that allow it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel.

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