July 16, 2013
By Felix Njini
Anglo (AAL) American Plc’s Namdeb Diamond Corp., a producer of gems in Namibia, said it’s raising output at its Elizabeth Bay mine by 32 percent one year after resuming operations and plans to extend mining there beyond 2015.
Elizabeth Bay, an open-cast operation 25 kilometers (16 miles south of the town of Luderitz that was shut for three years, produced 205,000 carats last year “despite technical challenges and a delayed ramp up,” Namdeb spokeswoman Pauline Thomas said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Ongoing improvements are bearing fruit and E-Bay is expected to produce in excess of 270,000 carats during 2013.”
Namdeb, which is jointly owned by Anglo’s De Beers unit and Namibia’s government, produced 1.67 million carats of gemstones last year. Of this, 1.1 million carats were mined by the Debmarine Namibia division in the southwest African country’s Atlantic waters. These are home to an estimated 80 million carats, the richest known marine diamond deposits in the world, according to the company’s website.
A 150 million Namibian-dollar ($15 million) recovery and sorting facility, known as Red Area Complex, will be operational by the end of the year.
“The complex will deliver more secure and efficient processing of production,” Thomas said.
Construction of the Sendelingsdrif mine, which will cost 280 million Namibian dollars, is “progressing well” and output is scheduled to start output in 2014.
“Sendelingsdrif is expected to replace production from the Daberas mine, yielding 45,000 carats annually and extend the life of the Orange River operations beyond 2020,” Thomas said.
Namdeb is looking to exploit diamonds in the “mid-water and shallow water marine areas with the aim of mining these beyond 2020,” she said.
“The technology required to mine these areas is still being developed, but good progress is being made with both resource and technology development.”