De Beers will increase production at Debmarine Namibia by 500,000 carats per year through the construction of a new diamond-recovery vessel, it said Thursday.
The ship, the seventh in De Beers’ fleet, will increase annual output from the country by 35%, and will cost $468 million to build. Anglo American, the miner’s parent company, will contribute $234 million, and the Namibian government — De Beers’ 50:50 joint partner in the water-based venture — will fund the other half.
“Some of the highest-quality diamonds in the world are found at sea, off the Namibian coast,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “With this investment, we will be able to optimize new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand across the globe.”
The Debmarine Namibia ships operate at approximately 120 to 140 meters below sea level in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Namibia. De Beers paid $157 million for its last marine vessel, which came into operation in June 2017.
The new ship will pay for itself within three years, added Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani. De Beers expects it to begin production in 2022.
Image: An aerial view of a Debmarine Namibia vessel. (De Beers)