Tag Archives: diamond mining

ALE powers up De Beers offshore diamond mining vessel

De Beers recently turned to ALE to replace two engines on its Debmar Pacific mining vessel, in use at its offshore diamond operations in Namibia.

Since 2002, diamond mining operations in Namibia have taken place in larger volume offshore than onshore, as gemstones washed into the Atlantic Ocean over millions of years are dredged and processed. It’s an expanding market, generating over a 100 Mct/y, according to ALE.

When, as part of routine maintenance operations the Debmar Pacific mining vessel required removal and replacement of two engines, De Beers turned to ALE to ensure a swift and efficient job, the company said.

The company said: “As time in port at Cape Town was limited to just a few weeks, several other similar procedures were taking place at the same time, meaning this work had to take place under strict space limitations.”

Prior to the lift operation, ALE installed two custom-designed gantries on either side of the vessel parallel with the floor of its engine rooms. These gantries were enlarged at the client’s request, in order to provide better access to the engines, ALE said.

Each engine was then jacked-up to a height of around 1 m, using four 60 t jacks. A medium skid track measuring 25 m was then laid, from a position underneath the engine to the custom-designed gantry at the vessel’s exterior.

Each 38 t GE engine was then skidded the length of this track, where it was uplifted using a 400 t crawler crane and set down in a nearby storage area, ALE said. This procedure was completed in reverse in order to install both 80 t Wartsilla engines.

The company said: “ALE needed to liaise with several onsite authorities and contractors during the project, in particular during the construction of both access gantries. Having executed a large number of vessel upgrade procedures in the past, ALE was well-placed to advise on the lift procedure that would deliver the best value whilst upholding the highest standards of safety.”

The Debmar Pacific was built in 1977 and converted into a mining vessel during 1997. It will return to active service mining gemstones 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, once all maintenance operations on it are completed.

BlueRock hopes for Kareevlei diamond mining upgrade with Teichmann contract

BlueRock Diamonds, the owner and operator of the Kareevlei diamond mine, in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has instructed Teichmann South Africa to provide mining services to the company.

BlueRock announced back on May 16 that it was in negotiations with a member of the Teichmann Group to provide the quantity of ore necessary to meet BlueRock’s production plans.

The diamond miner said Teichmann’s extensive experience in mining operations is expected to significantly de-risk the company’s mining activities and allow BlueRock to meet its production targets in a “cost-effective manner”.

The Kareevlei licence area covers 3,000 ha and hosts five known diamondiferous kimberlite pipes. As at November 2018, it was estimated that the remaining inferred resource from the four kimberlitic pipes (KV1, KV2, KV3 and KV5) represents a potential in-ground number of carats of 367,000, BlueRock says.

The contract is for a period of five years commencing with an effective start date of July 1 and includes the extraction of ore and waste, haulage of said material to a stockpile, breaking down ore to the required size when required, and delivering ore to the processing plant.

BlueRock said: “Unlike the agreement with the previous provider of these services which was paid on an hourly basis with a minimum number of hours guaranteed, Teichmann will be paid almost entirely on a cost per tonne basis and, accordingly, the effective cost per tonne is reduced with the planned increased production.”

Based on the lower end of the company’s current production expectations, the estimated cost of Teichmann’s services for the 12 months ending June 30, 2020 will be around ZAR21 million ($1.4 million).

Mike Houston, Executive Chairman, said: “The upgrading of our mining operation is key to the overall success of the business and having an experienced mining contractor is an essential part of this process. I believe that our partnership with the wider Teichmann Group will provide further benefits going forward as we continue to implement our defined growth strategy.”