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Deep Dive Into Marine
The Mining Process Innovation from seabed-to-surface
Finding, recovering
and processing
Finding, recovering and processing diamonds is becoming ever more complex. With land supply in Namibia expected to run out in as little as 15 years, an innovative fleet of vessels is ensuring production continues off the coast of Namibia.
Unlocking the
Sparkle in Namibia
50:50 operation between The De Beers Group of Companies and the Government of the Republic of Namibia (Namdeb Holdings). A Milestone 10-Year Deal was signed in May 2016 for the sorting, valuing and sales of Namdeb Holdings' diamonds. The agreement is the longest ever signed between the two partners. Namibia's Largest Foreign Exchange Generator is Namdeb Holdings, which contributes more than one in every five Namibian dollars to foreign earnings. Debmarine Namibia continues to be recognised as global leader in the marine exploration and mining of diamonds.
95% of diamonds, it's estimated, will come from the seabed off the coast of south west Africa. 6 Vessels specialising in marine mining, are currently in operation at Debmarine Namibia. The mv SS Nujoma, its latest exploration and sampling vessel, was added to the fleet in 2017. More Than 1 Million carats were mined offshore in 2015. 12 Miles off Namibia's coast, Debmarine Namibia mines for diamonds. 150 Metres below the ocean, innovative technology brings these diamonds to the surface.
Scanning Seafloor
Resource development is carried out by scanning the seabed using geophysical mapping. This is followed by sampling, which determines the reserve's inventory.
Along with other parameters, the findings form the basis of a mine plan, which ensure the diamonds identified are brought to the surface in the safest and most sustainable, and economic way.
Mine Plan
Cutting Seabed
A horizontal crawler, attached to one of Debmarine Namibia's vessels floating on the ocean's surface, moves along the identified area to begin dredging the seabed.
Up to 60 tonnes of sediment are lifted each hour to the vessel through a giant pipe attached to the crawler.
Extracting Sediment
Sediment Sorting
On board, the sediment is washed and sifted into increasingly smaller stones using a series of vibrating racks then rotating drums that crush rocks.
Sediment that doesn't contain diamond-bearing material is passed back to the ocean, while the natural eco-system is closely monitored. Rehabilitation of marine mining environments occur naturally, unlike land-based mines.
Removing Sediment
Packaging Diamonds
No human hands touch the diamonds as they follow an automated process before being sealed into a series of small, barcoded containers.
The containers are then loaded into cases and, three times a week, are escorted onto a helicopter that flies to vaults onshore.
Transporting Diamonds
The Future: With the growth in the diamond industry expected to continue in the long term, the future for Debmarine Namibia looks bright, as it continues to unlock the potential in the Atlantic Ocean for Namibia. View more innovation stories