De Beers signed a memorandum of understanding with Norwegian firm Kleven Verft in order to build what it said would be the world’s largest custom-built diamond mining vessel.
As part of its strategy to grow its offshore operations, the Anglo American’s diamond unit ordered a new $142 million diamond mining ship which will work alongside the fleet De Beers uses to recover diamonds off Namibia’s Atlantic coast, as part of a 50:50 joint venture with the Namibian government.
With diamond exploration, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacturing sectors as its specialty, the international corporation 0perates in 35 countries.
Currently active in open-pit, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea mining, De Beers mining operations takes place in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada.
Earlier this year, the U.K based mining company, launched the world’s largest diamond exploration vessel, SS Nujoma which is expected to be operational by 2021, in a move to maintain high production levels until 2035. This will be the longest in the fleet, measuring 176 meters long.
De Beers Group Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Cleaver said “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”.
Namibia was a destination choice for the building of the custom mining vessel, because the water diamonds (marine diamonds) that are generally more valuable than land-based stones are an important commodity in Namibia and these marine diamonds make up around 20 percent of its foreign export earnings.