David Fuller's view -
As with the issue of the location of the border between Namibia and South Africa, it seems the same wrangling applies to the naming of the river; it is also referred to as the Gariep.
What is interesting about the location of the border is that it is legally located on the northern bank of the river, not in the middle. As a marine diamond miner operating out of Alexander Bay under contract to Alexkor on the southern side of the mouth I am keenly aware of the ramifications of this matter as it determines the boundary between the De Beers (Namibia) portion and Alexkor (South Africa) portion of what is the world’s most valuable diamond placer. This issue has not attracted much attention before because the Technology to mine through the mud belt of the delta was not available. Now it is, in the form of mass flow mining, a method based upon the same underwater excavation Technology utilised extensively in the oil and gas industry by companies such as James Fisher and Sons Plc.
Furthermore, the ideal mineral processing Technology for recovering very large diamonds has also now emerged in the form of XRT sorting (X-ray transmission), a spectacular demonstration of which took place recently with the large diamonds recovered at Lucara. The largest diamonds in the sea are lying closest to the mouth of the Orange River under the mud belt of the delta and XRT sorting Technology will play a big role in developing this world class diamond play.
Two weeks ago I attended the International Hydrographic Society’s conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre at which the key-note address was delivered by Mr Robert van der Poll, International Manager Law of the Sea at Fugro NV (Netherlands). To my surprise he spoke in some detail about this particular border issue and afterwards I had a fascinating chat with him on the topic, upon which billions of dollars are at stake.
I will keep the collective updated.
Many thanks for this fascinating email which is very likely to be of interest to the Collective of Subscribers.
It is another example of technological innovation enhancing all forms of mining.
Good luck with your efforts which I hope are not too risky. The occasional update on this venture would be appreciated.
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