African banks to fund construction of world’s biggest marine diamond ship

Five African commercial banks have partnered in a $375 million financing deal to build a new diamond mining vessel in Namibia.

The five banks, Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek, will provide 80% of the funding for the ship, which will be the world’s largest of its type.

The rest of the funding will be provided by the government of Namibia and Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers.

The ship, which will be known as the AMV3, will be the seventh in the Debmarine Namibia joint venture’s fleet, which mines high-quality diamonds from the ocean floor using hi-tech surveying equipment.

The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022 and is expected to contribute 2 billion Namibian dollars ($137.64 million) a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.

“With this investment, we will be able to optimise new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand, ” Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive Otto Shikongo said in a statement.

Mining, of which uranium and diamonds are a major part, contributed 14% of Namibia’s gross domestic product in 2018, according to the latest annual report of Namibia’s Chamber of Mines.