The main engines of Debmarine Namibia’s new N$7 billion recovery vessel being constructed in Romania were started successfully for the first-time last month.
This significant milestone of the Additional Mining Vessel #3 (AMV3), which will use state-of-the-art technology to optimise ocean floor diamond recovery, signified that construction is nearing completion, with delivery expected by next month when the ship will embark on its month-long maiden voyage to Cape Town.
When the AMV3, which is the seventh ship in Debmarine Namibia’s fleet, arrives at the port of Cape Town, it will be fitted with its recovery equipment being built in parallel with the vessel construction, and it is being fast tracked to align to the target delivery of the vessel.
The diamond recovery vessel is anticipated to provide approximately N$2 billion in taxes and royalties per annum in addition to more than 160 jobs.
Financing for the AMV3 was sourced through co-funding from five banks, namely Nedbank, RMB, Standard Bank, Bank Windhoek and ABSA, with Debmarine Namibia covering 25% of total project cost.
This translates into N$5.6 billion being provided by the banks, representing 80% of the cost of the vessel and Debmarine Namibia financing the remaining N$1.4 billion.
Upon commencing commercial operations, the AMV3 is expected to increase production by about 500 000 carats that will boost Debmarine Namibia’s annual production by 35%.
“Some of the highest quality diamonds in the world are found in the sea off the Namibian coast. With this investment, we will be able to optimise new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet consumer demands across the globe,” said De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver in a recent interview.
The construction of the new vessel and steel cutting began in Romania in May 2019 with the massive investment seen as a sign of confidence in the glittering diamond industry.
The steel fabrication works and manufacturing of components of the recovery system, crawler and treatment plant were made in Walvis Bay, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Debmarine Namibia currently operates five diamond recovery vessels along with one exploration and sampling vessel.
Debmarine Namibia’s other vessels are the MV Mafuta, MV Grand Banks, MV Debmar Pacific, MV Debmar Atlantic and MV !Gariep as well as the exploration and sampling vessel, the SS Nujoma.
Debmarine Namibia is the largest miner of diamonds in Namibia contributing about 70% of the total diamond production, making it one of the largest contributors to the national treasury.