When most people think of diamond mining, they think of pipe mining where blasting and large trucks result in deep pits. Alluvial mining is another type of mining where diamonds extraction is near the surface in areas where they diamonds washed by rivers for millions of years deposited. Some of the diamonds that eroded out of the pipes and down the rivers end up in the ocean. To mine diamonds from the ocean floor, ships with giant suction machines pull the gravel from the bottom of the sea to the surface to sort and filter the diamonds from the other rocks. While these ships are expensive, there are prime ocean floor locations that have relatively high concentrations of diamonds and thus enable economic production.
De Beers recently christened a new ship, “Peace in Africa, the first marine diamond mining vessel to operate off the South African coast. The marine mining project is the result of a $141.6 million investment by De Beers as it diversifies its diamond mining operations.
Much of the investment in the marine mining project in the South African Sea Areas has already benefited local South African companies and the estimated 30-year lifespan of the project promises economic development for South Africa for many years to come.