Mine resumes operations
Mining operations at Namdeb’s Elizabeth Bay mine south of Luderitz resumed this month, confirmed Tony Bessinger, mine manager of Namdeb northern coastal operations this week.
“We have started, and operations are still ramping up to full capacity,” he said.
The reopening of the mine follows after two years of rehabilitation and running of mining optimisation exercises, including the Process Plant which has been modified and simplified to ensure effective recovery of diamonds.
During this period, the diamond mining and operations came to a standstill.
Although they have started, he said that they are still having teething problems and are fine tuning systems. “We will have ‘an official opening’ when we are fully ramped up,” he said.
It is envisaged that the re-opening of the mine will generate profits and earnings in tax revenue and hundreds of jobs for the region.
Meanwhile, according to Bessinger, Namdeb has sampled and developed new areas to mine which have great potential.
“Elizabeth Bay Mine is on the brink of possibly its best period ever, with the exception of the 1920s when the miners didn’t have to work very hard to get the surface diamonds at Elizabeth Bay,” he said.
The southern mine areas have three years left, “if we do no additional exploration,” he said.
The planned exploration will allow us to secure a bright future for Elizabeth Bay and help us achieve Namdeb’s Vision of 2050,” he added.
James Alexander, geologist at the mine said it is estimated that there are about 2.7million carats at the mine, and the mine is currently commissioning the new process plant sections and plan to mine just over 300 000 carats during 2012.
The mine reached similar levels of production before, achieving about 340 000 carats in 2007.
In 2009, it was speculated that the mine operated at a loss.
Bessinger said this is no longer the case as “we expect to make a significant contribution towards NAMDEB’s headline profits in 2012,” he added.
In the meantime, community development will also take centre stage of mine management.
“As an important stakeholder in Luderitz, Namdeb has a keen interest in community development and makes a contribution in this regard as well. We continually invest in projects in Luderitz,” he said.
In order to support entrepreneurial initiatives in the area, the mine has also embarked on small mining operations in the Shallow Marine managed by the Namdeb Luderitz office, whereby products from the small driver-assisted operators are treated at the contractors treatment facility.
The facility extracts diamonds in a cost effective and efficient manner and provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to operate and expand in this part of business.
“We are keen to get more players involved ensuring that Shallow Marine operations play a much more meaningful role in the local economy. Namdeb has also assisted with the creation and operation of a diving school in Luderitz,” Alexander added.
Up to 250 workers are predicted to be employed at the mine as from this year onwards. This figure includes all contractors on site.
Namdeb currently holds seven diamond mining licences covering both land and sea areas on and
adjacent to the southern coast of Namibia.