The World biggest diamond miner is at it again with an investment that is set to consolidate the Namibian sea dredging high-grade diamond mining and scale it to greater heights. Debmarine Namibia is set to invest in world’s first ever custom-built diamond recovery vessel. On 16th of May, the group announced the approval by the board of directors the construction of this new ship at a tag price of US$468 Million, the largest ever single investment of its kind in the marine diamond mining industry.
Debmarine Namibia currently has 6 vessels (the Debmar Atlantic, Debmar Pacific, Gariep, Grand Banks, Mafuta and the NSS Nujoma) and on completion, this vessel which for now is called AMV3 (Additional Mining Vessel number 3) will add an estimate of 500,000 carats (nearly 35% increase to the current production) annually to the DeBeers’s Namibian production. The vessel will incorporate the latest marine technologies that will drive improved safety performance while optimizing mining efficiencies and utilization rates.
“Some of the highest quality diamonds in the world are found at sea off the Namibian coast. With this investment we will be able to optimize new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand across the globe,” Bruce Clever, CEO DeBeers Group indicated.
This will be the second ship to delivered to the Namibian sea industry within the last 5 years after an investment and delivery of the SS Nujoma vessel, the then most technologically advanced marine diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world built in 2015 at a cost of US$157 million. The current investment may have signified the payoff of the SS Nujoma investment strategy of exploring and securing diamond supply well into the future.
Namibia has in the recent times approved quite a number of significant mining project which have added huge value to the country’s GDP ad wooed in a lot of parallel investments across the resources sector. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, the Government of the Republic of Namibia, said “We note and appreciate the investment announced today by Debmarine Namibia. It is through investments like this we can continue to develop Namibia’s economy. As the Government we will continue to do what we can to promote and encourage investment in the mining sector.” Diamond mining is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy and the country is expected to run out of the land based diamond reserves in the next 20 years hence its more dependency on marine mining. Some of the most notable mining projects include the Swakop Uranium Husab Mining Project, B2Gold- Otjikoto Mine Project, Dundee Precious Metals-Tsumeb.
Since production began in 2002, Debmarine Namibia has depleted around 50 square miles, just 2% of the licence area. “This highly attractive investment offers a three-year payback, a more than 25% IRR and an EBITDA margin of more than 60% – typical of the high quality of our brownfield growth options,” Mark Cutifani Anglo American CEO, the owners of DeBeers Group said. The introduction of the AMV3 will add about US$130 million to the Namibian state coffers in taxes and royalties with a direct employment of about 160 people.
The company’s Board Chairman, Dr Michael Humavindu, commented: “An investment of this magnitude, over N$7 billion, is what drives a country’s economy forward. This new vessel will boast some of the best technology iin marine diamond recovery and has improved features to comply with the requirements for a green passport, i.e. meeting certain environmental standards.”