More than $7 billion has been invested into the search for diamonds since 2000 according to De Beers Group. Much of that has been focused in places such as India, Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, as well Siberia and Canada.
On a global scale, exploration costs in search for the extraordinarily rare mineral hovers around $500 million, nearly half of what was being invested in 2007. De Beers notes that demand for diamonds will almost certainly outstrip carat production over the next 10 years and “companies that are able to innovate and differentiate themselves will be best positioned to capture the opportunities created by this supply demand dynamic.”
With this in mind, De Beers is definitely innovating and has contracted Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven to build a 113 meter-long diamond exploration ship for use offshore Namibia.
This first-of-its-kind vessel will be of MT 6022 design from Marin Teknikk, a proven design from the offshore oil and gas sector.
“Underwater mineral exploration is a new segment for Kleven, and we look forward to working closely with De Beers on the realisation of this highly advanced vessel. We have had a strong cooperation with Marin Teknikk for many years, developing a number of prototypes together, and our offshore experience and expertise combined with De Beers competence and innovative strategy on this field has led to the development of this unique vessel,” says Ståle Rasmussen, CEO of Kleven.
MarinTeknikk notes the ship will be diesel electric powered is designed to be in position for 3 years between each time it returns to port.
The contract is divided into two separate phases, with final subject to building approval to be made Q1 2015. The vessel will be built at Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and is to be delivered in June 2016.
Including this last order, Kleven’s order book now holds 18 vessels at a total value of around NOK 12 billion.