De Beers MV SS Nujoma theWorld’s Largest, Advanced and specialized Diamond Exploration Ship.
De Beers launched the world’s largest diamond-exploration ship on Thursday, as it looks to Namibian waters to maintain production levels.
De Beers MV SS Nujoma cost around $157 million to build and will allow Debmarine Namibia, De Beers’ joint venture with the Namibian government, , a 50/50 joint venture. De Beers is the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore, having started in 2002. It produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016. to secure the country’s diamond supply “well into the future,” the miner said in a statement. The ship will ensure Debmarine to maintain its current annual rough diamonds production rate of 1.2 million carats until 2035, Reuters reported.
An inauguration ceremony was held Thursday in Walvis Bay, Namibia, attended by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Founding President Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, who the vessel was named after, as well as Obeth Kandjoze, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy.
Of Debmarine’s six ships, the MV SS Nujoma is the first of its kind to be dedicated to exploration and sampling. The vessel uses technologies that enable it to take larger samples than any other, and at a faster rate, De Beers said. The craft will mine diamonds at around 120 meters to 140 meters below sea level at double the speed of its predecessor, De Beers explained.
Marine diamonds are generally more valuable than land-based stones because lower-quality gems are washed away by waves, Reuters said.
The 12,000 ton diesel-electric powered vessel has created 140 direct new diamond jobs, the vast majority of appointments given to Namibians. It is 113 meters in lengt and accommodates a Captain and crew of 79.
It is equipped with a helicopter deck suitable for twin Sikorsky helicopter. It was constructed in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and fitted with a “subsea sampling system,” designed by De Beers Group, in Cape Town, South Africa. The inauguration followed five months of successful sea trials.
“Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. “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 USD $776.5 million in revenue annually.