De Beers launches $157m SS Nujoma
ANGLO American’s diamond unit De Beers on Thursday launched the world’s largest diamond exploration vessel off the coast of Namibia as it looks to maintain high production levels until 2035. The 12 000-ton, 113-metre-long SS Nujoma was built at a cost of $157 million (R2 billion) and is named after Sam Nujoma, Namibia’s founding president. “I am very, very confident this (vessel) will allow us to continue to extract 1.2 million carats a year,” De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” about diamond sales in 2017 and in terms of value there have been “some small positive movements” but it was too early to declare a trend. Anglo and De Beers rely heavily on diamonds. Anglo says they are central to its portfolio of assets as they tend to hold value when bulk commodities fall in price.