Canada’s Diamond Fields International (TSX-V:DFI) will resume mining off the coast of Namibia in 2018, as the country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy has renewed the company’s licence for a period of ten years.
The Vancouver-based company had signed an agreement with International Mining and Dredging (IMDH) to kick off an initial mining program on its ML 111 licence, but was waiting for the permit to arrive before moving forward.
The initial mining program, which will extend over a sea floor area of about 55 hectares, is to be executed using the state of the art Ya Toivo mining vessel. The ship is equipped with a four-point-mooring-system integrated anchor-assist and a dynamic positioning (DP2) system that ensures vessel stability during turbulent sea conditions.
Ya Toivo is further equipped with a Remotely Operated Subsea Tractor, capable of highly efficient and selective mining on the sea floor.
Namibia has over 3,700 square miles of marine diamond concession along its south-west coast, which is expected to support the industry for the next 50 years.
Marine diamond production has outperformed land-based mining in the last few years. In 2016, Namibia produced 1,7 million carats of marine diamond compared to 403,000 carats recovered on land.
The country’s main diamond miner — Debmarine Namibia — has been mining sea diamonds off the southern coast since its inception in 2002. It is a 50/50 joint venture between the Namibian Government and Anglo American’s De Beers Group.
Diamonds are key to Namibia as they account for about 20% of its foreign export earnings. The country gets 80 cents of every Namibian dollar generated by its joint venture with De Beers, which is equivalent to more than N$10 billion in revenue a year.