World’s Big­gest Di­a­mond Ex­plo­ration Ves­sel Re­ports For Duty In Namibia

Solitaire - - SPECTRUM -

The world’s largest and most ad­vanced di­a­mond ex­plo­ration and sam­pling ves­sel, the MV SS Nu­joma, is ready to start ex­plor­ing for di­a­mond de­posits in Namib­ian wa­ters, fol­low­ing its of­fi­cial in­au­gu­ra­tion re­cently.

The $157 mil­lion ves­sel will en­able Deb­ma­rine Namibia, a 50/50 joint ven­ture be­tween the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Namibia and De Beers Group, to ex­plore di­a­mond de­posits and se­cure di­a­mond sup­ply in the coun­try well into the fu­ture.

The in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony, held in Walvis Bay, Namibia, was at­tended by dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Saara Ku­u­gon­gelwa- Amad­hila and found­ing pres­i­dent Dr Sam Shafi­ishuna Nu­joma, af­ter whom the ves­sel was named, as well as Namibia’s min­is­ter of mines and en­ergy, Obeth Kand­joze.

Deb­ma­rine Namibia is the only com­pany in the world to mine di­a­monds off­shore, hav­ing started in 2002. The com­pany pro­duced around 1.2 mil­lion carats in 2016.

Min­ing of Namibia’s di­a­monds – some of the most valu­able in the world – takes place at around 120 to 140 me­tres below sea level. Through its ad­vanced ex­plo­ration ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the mv SS Nu­joma will en­able Deb­ma­rine Namibia to in­crease re­source devel­op­ment for the min­ing fleet.

The MV SS Nu­joma is the first in the com­pany’s fleet of five other ves­sels to be ded­i­cated to ex­plo­ration and sam­pling. It 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. It is ca­pa­ble of sam­pling at more than dou­ble the speed of its pre­de­ces­sor.

The 12,000-tonne, diesel-elec­tric pow­ered ves­sel has cre­ated 140 di­rect new jobs, the vast ma­jor­ity of which have been filled by Namib­ians. At 113 me­tres long, it can ac­com­mo­date a crew of 80 and has a he­li­copter deck suit­able for Siko­rsky S61s. It was con­structed in Ul­stein­vik, Nor­way, and fit­ted with its sub­sea sam­pling sys­tem, de­signed by De Beers Group, in Cape Town, South Africa. The in­au­gu­ra­tion fol­lows five months of suc­cess­ful sea tri­als.

Min­is­ter Kand­joze re­marked: “To­day marks an im­por­tant mile­stone for off­shore di­a­mond min­ing in Namibia. The mv SS Nu­joma rep­re­sents the largest ever cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in un­der­wa­ter di­a­mond min­ing and will en­sure a long-term, sus­tain­able fu­ture for off­shore di­a­mond min­ing in Namibia, as well as cre­at­ing im­por­tant new jobs for Namib­ians.”

Otto Shikongo, CEO, Deb­ma­rine Namibia, said: “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.”

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, stated: “Off­shore di­a­mond min­ing is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in meet­ing global de­mand for di­a­monds as many of the ma­jor on­shore de­posits have now been dis­cov­ered. The mv SS Nu­joma will al­low even more of Namibia’s high qual­ity off­shore di­a­monds to be dis­cov­ered and mined, en­sur­ing a strong fu­ture for Namibia’s di­a­mond in­dus­try, as well as the global di­a­mond mar­ket.”

Di­a­mond min­ing is the sin­gle big­gest con­trib­u­tor to Namibia’s econ­omy. The part­ner­ship be­tween De Beers Group and the Namib­ian Gov­ern­ment de­liv­ers more than N$10 bil­lion in rev­enue an­nu­ally.

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