The leading marine diamond company in the world; DebMarine Namibia, has secured the funding for its brand-new N$2,3 billion, state-of-the-art technology, one-of-a-kind diamond sampling and exploration vessel, the mv SS Nujoma, by partnering with local banks.
At the signing ceremony with top executives from Standard Bank Namibia and FNB Namibia’s RMB Namibia, DebMarine Namibia’s CEO Otto Shikongo called it a momentous achievement.
He said that the 113-metre-long vessel, with a total displacement of 12 000 tonnes, is currently under construction in Norway by world-renowned ship builders Kleven Verft AS, with final commissioning expected July 2017 after retro-fitting of own-developed technology in the second half of 2016. Not only will the Nujoma feature unique technology like a launch and recovery system, on-board sampling system with treatment facility and sorting plant, it will be able to stay in position within a few meteres, without being anchored, and is designed to stay out at sea for up to three years at a time. Its hundred and sixty strong double crew will be airlifted by helicopter to rotate on duty between base at Lüderitz and ship, he explained.
“We placed the order last year after the board approval on 21 April,” Shikongo said, adding that because it is such a massive project, management is critical and was proud that Namibian-born and Namdeb-sponsored engineer Michael Curtis is in charge.
“Debmarine Namibia will cover 25% of the total project cost and the balance through the local banks, namely Standard Bank, First National Bank of Namibia and Rand Merchant Bank of Namibia,” he said. “I am indeed pleased and proud that the three Namibian entities have united to make this project a reality for the long-term benefit of all our stakeholders and the nation at large,” he said.
Standard Bank Namibia CEO Vetumbuavi Junius Mungunda called it a, “momentous deal where we share in the co-financing of the US$150 million to enable a local company Debmarine Namibia to acquire a new diamond mining, exploration and sampling vessel.” Describing it as, “one of the most significant investments taking place in our country,” he said, “I strongly believe that this latest addition to the Debmarine Namibia fleet will help expand deep-sea diamond mining exploration and sampling as well as off-shore mining to greater heights, ultimately contributing to our country’s core economic growth.”
Steve Galloway of RNB Namibia said that the deal proves, “this country is big enough and the deals are big enough for all of us, and gives credence to the ‘Growth At Home’ strategy.” He said that the 1994 Namdeb deal between De Beers and the government of Namibia, “set the trend,” by which public private partnership (PPP) arrangements are fast making Namibia the most desirable mining destination in Africa, “making us a truly competitive nation. I am excited about this cooperative spirit,” he said and predicted that the country will achieve 7% annual GDP growth soon. “The Namibian environment shows it is better to collaborate than to compete,” said Galloway.