Anglo American’s (AAL.L) diamond unit De Beers on has launched the world’s largest diamond exploration vessel off the coast of Namibia as it looks to maintain high production levels until 2035.
Anglo American and De Beers rely heavily on diamonds. Anglo American says they are central to its portfolio of assets as they tend to hold value when bulk commodities fall in price.
Diamonds are also important to Namibia as they generate 20 percent of its foreign export earnings. Namibia receives 80 cents of every Namibian dollar generated by Debmarine Namibia, its 50:50 joint venture with De Beers.
Marine diamonds are particularly prized. They are generally more valuable than land-based stones because lower quality gems are washed away by waves.
Debmarine Namibia produced 1.2 million carats of diamonds in 2016, a level De Beers says it can maintain until 2035 when its license expires on a 6,000 square km area.
The SS Nujoma is the sixth diamond exploration vessel to join Debmarine Namibia’s fleet. It can hunt for diamonds at more than double the speed of its predecessor, De Beers said.
De Beers has a budget for land-based exploration of about $35 million to explore in Canada, Botswana and South Africa.