JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Planning for what could potentially be the world’s largest custom-built offshore diamond mining vessel has been initiated, diamond giant De Beers announced this week.
The government of Namibia and De Beers’ 50:50 joint venture Debmarine Namibia is aiming to start the operation of a new $142-million, 176-m-long vessel in 2021.
The vessel, which will be 2 m 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.
The company currently operates five diamond mining vessels and one exploration vessel off the country’s southern coast.
“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,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver.
The new mining vessel will also capitalise on the work of De Beers’ newest diamond sampling and exploration vessel SS Nujoma, as well as improve the company’s ability to target its mining activities and support the long-term future of Namibia’s diamond sector.
The new vessel is expected to add 130 new jobs to Debmarine Namibia’s current workforce of 900 employees.
Kleven Verft, through a signed memorandum of understanding, has been selected to construct the new vessel.
Kleven Verft had also built the 12 000 t, 113-m-long SS Nujoma, which was fully commissioned in June.