Mammoet Focus30 Crane speeds up diamond mining vessel production by 10 days

The world’s largest diamond recovery vessel, the 177-metre Benguela Gem (AMV3 Project), has been outfitted with a FOCUS30 crane, by the Dutch logistics company Mammoet. It is one of the most advanced vessels in the marine diamond industry, valued at over $420 million. It can recover high quality diamonds from the seabed at water depths of 90m to 150m, thanks to its advanced subsea crawling equipment.

The ship is owned and operated by Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the world’s largest diamond mining and jewellery company, De Beers, and the Government of the Republic of Namibia. The project was managed out of Cape Town, in South Africa, by De Beers Marine, for Debmarine Namibia.

While the ship was designed and built in Europe, mission equipment was designed and built in Cape Town in large modules, before being integrated into the vessel there, by De Beers Marine. It is a combination of a complex and DP2 capable offshore vessel, adapted for the specific purpose of diamond mining. The mission equipment consists of the subsea crawler, that recovers a mix of gravel and diamonds from the seabed, the launch and recovery system, which deploys the crawler to the seabed, as well as an advanced treatment plant to recovers the diamonds from the gravels, and returns almost all of the gravels to the seabed.

The Mammoet FOCUS30 crane was identified as the best available option to accelerate integration works on the 10 different 428t components, including the lower and upper launch and recovery towers, a winch and a crawler. Indeed, the Mammoet FOCUS30 was able to lift and install components from a single position, once they were positioned in a semi-circle within range of the crane.

The Mammoet FOCUS30 was also a convenient choice as it required no laydown area during the assembly of its boom, leading to minimal disruption to surrounding infrastructure. Its ground bearing pressure being under 10t/m², it did not require special ground civil works on the berth either. Combined with Mammoet’s already established local presence in South Africa, the FOCUS30 was lift-ready in just two weeks, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Once the vessel arrived for outfitting, Mammoet’s project team lifted and installed the modules on the deck, ten days ahead of schedule. It has now commenced recovery operations off the coast of Namibia. These operations are expected to increase yearly marine diamond production by 500,000 carats of high-quality diamonds. The ship is also expected to create 160 jobs for Namibians, and contribute N$3 billion a year to the Namibian economy.

Author: Emma Dailey

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