Namibia’s Benguela Gem vessel last quarter pushed up diamond recovery volumes by 67.2%
- Diamonds recovered for the second quarter of 2022 by Namibia stood at 565 000 carats, a 67.2% increase from the 338 000 carats recovered during the same quarter in 2021
- De Beers introduced its new diamond recovery vessel named the “Benguela Gem” in Namibia. It’s the latest addition to Debmarine Namibia’s fleet, which recovers diamonds from deep within the ocean
- Meanwhile, the largest pink diamond was found in Angola and is thought to be the largest discovered in the last 300 years
The debut of Namibia’s Benguela Gem vessel last quarter has pushed up diamond recovery volumes by 67.2% when compared to production figures from the prior year.
Namibia was the only country out of four diamond-mining operations with increased production levels, according to production updates by De Beers.
The quarter saw De Beers recording a production level of 7.9 million carats.
Diamonds recovered for the second quarter of 2022 by Namibia stood at 565 000 carats, a 67.2% increase from the 338 000 carats recovered during the same quarter in 2021.
According to Mining Weekly, in the six months to June 30, the rough diamond production of the De Beers Group increased by 10% to 16.9 million carats, reflecting strong operational performance and higher planned production levels to meet continued strong demand for rough diamonds.
Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda) increased by 55% on sales recovery and unit costs were flat at $59/ct.
“I’m pleased to report a very strong set of results for the first half of 2022. We reported revenue of $3.6-billion and an Ebitda of $944-million – and this is on the back of some really strong production from across our portfolio,” De Beers Group CFO Sarah Kuijlaars.
“It all starts with production and safe production, and we produced 16.9-million carats, which is a very strong performance – and up from 2021. We had good operational performance across all our assets, which contrasts with the beginning of 2021, when our assets, particularly in South Africa, were impacted by heavy rainfall. This year, we’ve had a really strong operational excellence across all assets. We’re at the last cut in the Venetia open pit, so it’s a really important part of getting the remaining carats from open pits before we transition to the underground in 2023,” said Kuijlaars.
De Beers introduced its new diamond recovery vessel named the “Benguela Gem” in Namibia in March. It’s the latest addition to Debmarine Namibia’s fleet, which recovers diamonds from deep within the ocean.
Debmarine Namibia is a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, the world’s largest diamond company.
According to an article by International Mining published on June 9, 2022, Benguela Gem, (AMV3 Project), the world’s largest diamond recovery vessel, will contribute N$3 billion a year to the Namibian economy. Owned and operated by Debmarine Namibia, the ship is one of the most technologically advanced vessels in the marine diamond industry, valued at more than US$420 million. Thanks to its advanced subsea crawling equipment the vessel can recover high-quality diamonds from the seabed at water depths of 90 m to 150 m.
The project was managed for Debmarine Namibia by De Beers Marine in Cape Town. The ship combines a complex and DP2 capable offshore vessel, adapted for the specific purpose and integrated into mission equipment. International Mining adds that the mission equipment comprises of the subsea crawler which recovers diamonds and gravels from the seabed, the launch and recovery system which deploys the crawler to the seabed, and an advanced treatment plant which recovers the diamonds from the gravels and returns almost 99% of the gravels to the seabed.
De Beers also said the ship’s state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system optimizes its performance in changing weather conditions to minimize energy use. It also generates fresh water through its heat recovery systems and a reverse osmosis plant.
“The Benguela Gem is the first of its kind and represents an outstanding feat of engineering design, technology innovation, and sustainability performance,” said De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver.
The vessel was designed and built in Europe, and the mission equipment was designed and built in Cape Town in large modules parallel to the vessel built in Europe. The mission equipment was then integrated into the vessel in Cape Town by De Beers Marine.
In terms of performance, according to an article by The Namibian dated July 29, 2022, South Africa, Botswana, and Canada all saw diamond production levels dipping at 4%, 4%, and 24%, respectively.
De Beers’s production of rough diamonds decreased by 3,7% year on year mainly due to the treatment of lower-grade ore at operations in both Canada and Botswana. Botswana’s production has decreased due to lower-grade ore being processed at both the Jwaneng and Orapa mines. South Africa’s production has decreased due to lower tonnes treated.
Diamond production in Angola increased by 16.6% year on year to 2.4 million carats, according to the latest figures from the Angolan Ministry of Finance although De Beers does not currently operate diamond mines in Angola.
Meanwhile, according to BBC News, the largest pink diamond was found in Angola.
This rare pink diamond, weighing 34 grams, is thought to be the largest discovered in the last 300 years. It is believed to be the largest pink diamond mined since the 185-carat Daria-i-Noor, which was cut from a larger stone and is now among the Iranian national jewels.
The 170-carat stone has been named the “Lulo Rose”, after the mine in Angola where it was found. The Lulo Rose is a type 2a diamond with few or no impurities.
“This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage,” said Diamantino Azevedo, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources.
It is the fifth largest diamond recovered from the Lulo mine, a joint venture between Australia’s Lucapa Diamond Company and the Angolan government.