In an exhaustive article on the operations of Namdeb, the De Beers’ 50:50 operation with the Namibian government, The Daily Telegraph reports that an estimated 95 percent of Namibia's diamonds will in the future come from the seabed off the country's coast and that marine gems are already the fetching the highest prices from all of its seven mines. Five specially-adapted ships fitted with giant tractors and drills between them mine more than one million carats a year from rich alluvial deposits scattered out to sea by the mighty Orange River at the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth.
“Marine diamonds are our future,” said Paulus Shituna, acting CEO of Namdeb’s trading arm. “Ten years ago it was 30 per cent marine and 70 per cent land but now it’s flipped on its head.” De Beers has so far only covered only three percent of its 3,700 miles squared concession area at sea and expects to be there for another 50 years, while its land-based operation is reshaping the coastline through mining the sandy shore and surf line, according to the article. As a result of a deal signed between the government and De Beers, Namdeb is now Namibia’s largest taxpayer and the country’s biggest foreign exchange generator, contributing more than a fifth of the country’s foreign earnings.