When it comes to diamonds, we all know De Beers means business. The South African-based group has built an ultra centenarian legacy on the quality of its stones, a record that comes together with the capacity to access the best natural reserves in the world. One of these is in fact the Atlantic Ocean seabed lying off the coasts of Namibia: here, De Beers has just deployed the world’s biggest diamond exploration vessel to date. Identified by the name SS Nujoma, the special boat cost 157 million dollars and was built by Debmarine Namibia, a fifty-fifty joint venture between the mining company and the government of the African state.
Equipped with state-of-the-art drills and sonars, the 12,000t vessel will explore the ocean bed across a surface of 6000 sqm looking for the purest diamonds, thus helping the company maintain its yearly production rate of 1.2 million carats for the next two decades. What makes the Namibian stones so valuable is their unparalleled quality: over millions of years, these diamonds have made their way to the ocean flowing along the Orange River, in South Africa. This path allowed the stones to be separated in smaller pieces throughout the journey, a process that enabled only the strongest, purest and most perfect samples to survive. Today, these diamonds are sold for about $528 a carat, way higher than the average $187 of the other De Beers stones.