The world’s largest marine diamond producer, DebMarine, celebrated its tenth year anniversary by commissioning the world’s largest diamond mining vessel, the MV Mafuta last night in Windhoek.
The N$640m vessel was commissioned by President Hifikepunye Ponyamba at an event also graced by founding president Sam Nujoma.
DebMarine is currently producing more than one million carats of gem quality diamonds annually and Chief Executive Officer Otto Shikongo revealed that the company has paid N$538m dividend to its shareholders in 2012 where it reached the N$1b turnover notch.
“Of course our current challenge is the capacity to dry dock at the Walvis Bay port since our vessels are quiet large. We also need to ensure that Namport stays up to speed in its expansion,” said Shikongo.
The MV Mafuta, measuring 174 metre in length and 24metres beam, becomes one of the five mining vessels at DebMarine.
It mines at a rate of between 500 and 200 square metres per hour and the crawler can mine for 100 hours continuously.
Originally a heavy lift dock ship, and thereafter a cable laying vessel, the MV Mafuta was converted to a marine vessel and fitted with a fourth generation crawler-mounted dredge technology.
DebMarine Namibia operates in Namibia’s Atlantic coastal waters and is part of a 50/50 joint venture between the government of Namibia and De Beers.
Said Pohamba, “Although the negative effects of the global economic downturn continues to be felt around the world, the shareholders of DebMarine have demonstrated confidence in our economy by making significant investments.”