- Expectations had been "exceeded by more than 150 percent" as diamonds have been mined off the Namibian coast for three weeks. A total of 59,578 diamonds (20,916 carats), of which 95 percent had gem quality, were recovered between 9 and 30 June at a concession off Lüderitz in southern Namibia.
The Canada-based company Diamond Fields did not believe the first reports coming in from the western limb of its Marshall Fork deposit off Lüderitz, Namibia. It waited several weeks, until today, to announce its results from the first mining operations using new technologies at the concession, to make sure they had not just been hit by one lucky day.
In early June, the company resumed its marine diamond mining off the Namibian coast with an upgraded and technically advanced vessel, the MV Kovambo, which is specially designed to a very high production capacity in the special conditions in the area. The US$ 30 million investment in the vessel was not without risks, as Namibian diamond stocks are known to be close to depleted.
An earlier feasibility study by MRDI, an independent Canadian consultant, had however indicated that Diamond Fields' ML 111 marine diamond concession had approximated resources of 1.1 million carats with a grade of 1.01 carats per m2. This assumption led to the major investment in the MV Kovambo by the medium-sized Canadian mining company.
The results produced after the MV Kovambo has operated three weeks on the concession however had "exceeded expectations by more than 150 percent," according to the company's chief geologist Randal Cullen. Further, recovered grades had "included several stones in excess of 5 carats including one gem quality stone in excess of 12 carats, confirming the presence of a larger stone size population whose source has yet to be determined."
Diamond Fields President Gregg Sedun was in a mood for celebrations. "We are extremely pleased with these outstanding early results reflecting the excellent performance and efficiency of the MV Kovambo," he stated today, adding that "the higher than anticipated grade and resulting diamond production during this short period has definitely exceeded our projections."
In fact, mining operations that could indicate the discovery of new diamond sources have become very rare from Namibia. All known inland diamond deposits are expected to be depleted within the next 10 to 15 years, according to the Bank of Namibia. The country's offshore diamond industry is however expected to survive for a longer time, if new discoveries are made.
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