Alexkor has a lease to prospect for and mine diamonds in sea concession areas 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 3a, 4a, 4b and 9d as well as the adjacent surf zones. Approximately 25 different shallow water contractors are currently undertaking diver-based mining in the sub tidal concession areas. Pumps are used to suck gravel off the sea floor and following initial screening, the gravel is processed further at the onshore dense media separation (DMS) plants.
The Shallow Water contractors and Alexkor share the proceeds of the diamonds recovered from the ocean on a percentage basis. Alexkor acknowledges that the shallow marine mining activities are critical to the stabilisation of the job creation in the Namaqualand region and their continuous employment is encouraged.
The continued success of the shallow water mining by sub-contractors relies heavily on the effective management of these sub-contractors. Steps have been taken to improve marine diamond recovery by providing better technical and geological support as well as enhanced security and professional support.
Significant projects in this regard were the implementation of a vessel monitoring system, FlexiMine, as well as the introduction of a centralised technical database, Alexkor Information Management System (AIMS). These efforts all contribute to the maximising production during the limited available sea days.
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