Diamond News

Debmarine, a 50/50 joint venture between world’s No. 1 diamond producer by value De Beers and the government of Namibia, will build a $468 million-diamond recovery ship, the world’s first custom-made vessel of such kind and the seventh in the company’s fleet.

The watercraft, slated to start operations in 2022, would add about 500,000 carat a year of production capacity to Debmarine Namibia’s output. This, Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers said, represents an increase of about 35% on current output levels.

Vessel, slated to start operations in 2022, would add about 500,000 carat a year of production capacity to Debmarine Namibia’s output.

Anglo’s chief executive, Mark Cutifani, noted that the addition of the first-of-its-kind vessel would bring numerous benefits in terms of De Beers’ production profile by value and volume, as well as the technologies that can be deployed from the outset for greater efficiency and productivity.

The executive added the investment offered a three-year payback, a more than 25% internal rate of return and an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin of more than 60%.

Debmarine Namibia last ordered a new vessel in late 2017. At the time it was projected to cost $142 million and was expected to start operations in 2021.

The company operates five diamond mining vessels and one exploration and sampling one, the mv SS Nujoma. They comb the ocean floor using advanced drill technology, supported with tracking, positioning and surveying equipment.

Dredged gravel is sifted at treatment plants onboard the ships. The leftover material is returned to the ocean and recovered diamonds are securely sealed in containers, loaded into steel briefcases, and flown by helicopter to shore.

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