Marine diamond miner, Debmarine Namibia, is said to be on the verge of acquiring two more mining vessels partly financed through a loan facility from Standard Bank Namibia, the Windhoek Observer has established.
Although details of the deal remain sketchy, the Windhoek Observer understands that negotiations for the loan facility are at an advanced stage.
If successful, the deal will bring to eight the number of diamond mining vessels in the miner’s fleet, following last year’s acquisition of the MV SS Nujoma exploration vessel, which will be formally handed over to Debmarine on 15 June, after months in Cape Town where it was fitted with exploration equipment, including a technologically advanced sampling system and treatment plant.
Debmarine is a joint venture between De Beers and the Namibian Government.
The proposed two new vessels will join the SS Nujoma and other five vessels, the Grand Banks, Debmar Atlantic, Debmar Pacific, !Gariep and Mafuta, which operate within the world’s largest known placer diamond deposit off the southern Namibian coast.
Questions sent to Standard Bank Namibia remained unanswered for weeks, while Debmarine Manager: Corporate Communication, Stella Iipinge, refused to comment.
The extraction of Namibian diamonds – some of the most valuable in the world – takes place at around 80-150 metres below sea level, but with the arrival of the SS Nujoma, Debmarine is confident that it will be able to extend mining further off-shore and secure diamond supply in the country past 2050.
The SS Nujoma, named after Namibia’s Founding President, was partially financed through a facility from RMB Namibia.
The 113-metre long SS Nujoma, which is considered to be the most sophisticated diamond sampling and exploration vessel in the world, was bought at a total consideration of N$2,3 billion.
The exploration vessel will create 140 new direct jobs for Namibians who will operate it.