De Beers unveils ‘advanced’ diamond recovery vessel

The vessel will commence operations from next week, well ahead of its original schedule

The world’s most advanced diamond recovery vessel, the Benguela Gem, has today been officially unveiled in Namibia at an inauguration ceremony attended by President Hage Geingob, Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo and De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver.

The vessel will commence operations from next week, well ahead of its original schedule.

The custom-built vessel will add an additional 500,000 carats of high value diamonds to Debmarine Namibia’s annual production, an increase of around 45%, while creating 160 high-skilled jobs for Namibians.

Debmarine Namibia is a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia. The Benguela Gem joins the world-class Debmarine Namibia fleet, which responsibly recovers some of the world’s highest quality diamonds.

The Benguela Gem was designed in Norway and Poland, built in Romania and fitted out with its proprietary mission equipment by De Beers Marine South Africa.

Taking two years to construct, it is the “most technically advanced diamond recovery vessel in the world”

Minister Alweendo said: “In a world where there is global competition for capital – and where capital has become increasingly mobile – it is most pleasing to see that we are able to witness the fruits of this fantastic investment. The investment in this vessel is not just an investment in a diamond recovery vessel. It is an investment in the future of Namibia.”

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “The Benguela Gem is the first of its kind and represents an outstanding feat of engineering design, technology innovation and sustainability performance. Despite significant challenges presented by Covid-19, the project was delivered ahead of time and budget – a testament to the world-leading skill and expertise of all involved.”

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