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De Beers Unveils $420M Diamond-Mining Ship

Mar 20, 2022 8:28 AM   By Rapaport News
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De Beers has revealed the newest member of its underwater mining fleet: a $420 million ship that is set to add 500,000 carats of high-value diamonds to its annual production from Debmarine Namibia.

The custom-built vessel, called the Benguela Gem, will begin diamond-recovery operations this week, De Beers said Friday. Paid for by De Beers and the Namibian government — the miner’s 50:50 joint partner in the water-based venture — the ship will also create 160 jobs for Namibian citizens.

The Benguela Gem was designed in Norway and Poland and crafted in Romania over two years. It is the most technically advanced diamond-recovery vessel in the world, De Beers noted.

“The Benguela Gem is the first of its kind and represents an outstanding feat of engineering design, technology innovation and sustainability performance,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “Despite significant challenges presented by Covid-19, the project was delivered ahead of time and budget. The investment in this vessel will support a long-term, sustainable future for Namibia’s diamond sector.”

Debmarine Namibia recovers rough diamonds between 90 and 150 meters below sea level. It is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy, the miner explained. The vessel will lift its annual diamond production by around 45%. Currently, the joint venture brings in more than NAD 10 billion ($669.5 million) in revenue each year.

“In a world where there is global competition for capital...the investment in this vessel is not just an investment in a diamond-recovery vessel,” said Tom Alweendo, minister of mines and energy for Namibia. “It is an investment in the future of Namibia.”

Image: The Benguela Gem. (De Beers)
Tags: Benguela Gem, Bruce Cleaver, COVID-19, De Beers, Debmarine Namibia, Diamond-Mining Ship, diamonds, Rapaport News, Tom Alweendo
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