The vessel was built in Ulsteinvik in Norway by the Kleven Verft shipbuilding group, and is named after Namibia’s founding president, Dr Sam Nujoma. The 113 metre-long diesel-electric powered vessel has a displacement of 12,000 tonnes, and accommodates a crew of 80. It has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61’s, and is equipped to remain on exploration operations for three years between port maintenance layovers.
The vessel itself was manufactured in six modules, five in Poland and one in the builder’s Norwegian shipyard. The Polish modules were transported on a barge to Kleven Verft for final assembly on the slipway.
Following its’ launch in January 2016, the vessel was sailed from Norway to Cape Town, where it was fitted out with its Mission Equipment, comprising of the sampling tool, the launch and recovery system, and the treatment plant. The treatment plant in turn comprises the following plant areas:
- Primary plant
- Comminution plant
- Dense media separation plant
- Final recovery
The treatment plant was designed by LADP / ADP M&M each of which has specialist expertise in mineral processing and modular plant design and construction, to minimize footprint, height and mass, and still provide operational flexibility in compliance with stringent ocean-going standards.
The Mission Equipment was designed and built in large modules, suitable for marine duty within a confined deck space, with a combined mass of 2,200 tonnes, in parallel with vessel construction in Norway. The modules were lifted on to the vessel using the second-largest super-lift crane in southern Africa, with the heaviest module weighing in at 220 tonnes.
A feature of the modular plant design was the ability to lift and place portions of plant from quayside, to the Vessel enabling complete fit-out and cold commissioning of the Mission Equipment within 3 months. Sea trials were then undertaken prior to hot commissioning in non-diamondiferous areas, thereby offering the opportunity to resolve issues prior to establishing the security protocols.
LADP’s process design input included the seamless processing and management of multiple samples (>5 samples), by a fully automated and intelligent system by application of a pre-designed binning philosophy and vendor-proprietary batch software. LADP also designed the automated capturing of metallurgical and processing data per sample as each is processed through the different unit processes.