The construction of a new diamond mining vessel, projected to be the world’s largest of its type, for a subsidiary of Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers is underway in Namibia.
Five African commercial banks are investing up to $375 million for the ship, which is to be known as the AMV3.
Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship.
Debmarine Namibia – a 50-50 joint venture company between De Beers and the government of Namibia, will provide the balance of $94 million.
The ship will be the seventh in the Debmarine Namibia joint venture’s fleet, which mines high-quality diamonds from the ocean floor using hi-tech surveying equipment.
“The highest quality diamonds in the world are found in our ocean,” Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive Otto Shikongo said in a statement.
“With this investment we will be able to optimise new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand.
The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022, and is expected to contribute 2 billion Namibian dollars ($137.64 million) a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.
According to the latest annual report of Namibia’s Chamber of Mines, mining, of which uranium and diamonds are a major part, contributed 14% of Namibia’s gross domestic product in 2018.