Marine Mining

One of the five diamond mining vessels that operates off the coast of Namibia

The Orange River that carried diamonds from the centre of South Africa to the Atlantic Coast millions of years ago also deposited its precious cargo across the ocean floor.

We mine diamonds from the seabed at depths of 90 to 140 metres. Our fleet of five specialised marine mining vessels are nothing less than full mining operations at sea; with each one capable of screening material recovered from the ocean floor. We then airlift the resulting diamond rich concentrate by helicopter for further processing on shore.

Backed by long-term investment and innovative technology, marine diamond mining in Namibia has recently reached a milestone - surpassing the annual volumes produced by the country’s land-based diamond mining activities. We use two different methods for our marine operations off the south west coast of Namibia:

  • Horizontal marine mining - A remarkable seabed crawler, which uses flexible hoses along the ocean floor, to bring diamond bearing gravels to the surface.
  • Vertical marine mining - We use a large-diameter drill to bring diamond-bearing gravels to the surface.  While not able to cover the same surface area, the drill is able to find diamonds at greater depths then the crawler.

Debmarine Namibia's environmental research focuses on greater knowledge of the natural variability of the environment, understanding the consequences of marine mining, and monitoring changes over time.

We have done research studies that include surveying the seabed and assessing the impact of mining operations on the biological diversity of the marine environment.  Day-to-day activities include active environmental management at operational level, ensuring legal compliance and generally enhancing environmental awareness of all staff.

The Debmar Atlantic, moored some 35 kilometers off the Namibian Coastline