FIVE African commercial banks have partnered in a $375m financing deal to build a new diamond mining vessel for a subsidiary of Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers, said Reuters which named Nedbank Namibia and RMB Namibia among the lenders.
They will be joined by Standard Bank, ABSA, and Bank Windhoek which agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship, which will be the world’s largest of its type. Debmarine Namibia – a 50-50 joint venture company between De Beers and the government of Namibia – will provide the balance of $94m, the newswire said.
“The highest quality diamonds in the world are found in our ocean,” Debmarine Namibia CEO, 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,” he said.
The ship, to be known as the AMV3, 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, said Reuters.
The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022, and is expected to contribute 2 billion Namibian dollars ($137.64m) a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.
De Beers is targeting production of between 31 to 33 million carats (mc) in the current financial increasing to between 35 million carats and 37 million carats by its 2021 financial year, according to guidance provided in the 2018 financial results. De Beers spent $417m in capital expenditure in 2018.
“Some of the highest quality diamonds in the world are found at sea off the Namibian coast,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group said in May at the time De Beers first announced the investment. “With this investment we will be able to optimise new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand across the globe,” he said.