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Introduction to Rapid Mining

Rapid Mining was incorporated in 1997 after the founding member, Gavin Craythorne, spent time in Angola as a technical consultant and diver on a river mining project. Prior to this he had accumulated eleven years of experience and extensive diving hours in marine mining on the west coast of South Africa.

During that period he developed a ski-boat class mining vessel which became the most widely used turnkey-built diamond recovery vessel in the West Coast diamond industry. Because of this, Rapid Mining has enjoyed 100% market share of all turnkey-built mining vessels brought into production on the West Coast between the Olifant’s River mouth in the south and the Orange River mouth in the north since the year 2000.

This region, and in particular Alexander Bay, is the global centre for diamond diver-mining. South African expertise has been instrumental in developing diver operated diamond dredging throughout the rest of the African continent where, unfortunately even today, artisinal miners called garimpeiros, risk their safety diving with nothing more than a rubber hose in the side of their mouths, a metal bucket for scooping gravel and a dugout canoe for a support platform. It was in January 1996 that Leon Gerber and Brian Atwell, seeking west coast expertise to solve technical problems at their Luo’ alluvial diamond project, approached Craythorne for assistance. The Luo’ project was an enormous success and two years later Rapid Mining produced the full diver-mining package for their Cassanguidi project. The Cassanguidi project produced 127 000 carats (25.5 kg of diamonds) in ten months using two Super-Digger™ diamond extraction barges. Rapid Mining was also responsible for recruiting experienced diamond divers from the West Coast diamond industry in a joint venture with Southern Era.

Today Rapid Mining, with the Dredge-Ex® range of diamond mining equipment, remains at the forefront in the supply of turnkey waterborne diver-mining systems, made possible by virtue of its position in the industry as both an operational mining contractor and specialist in diver-mining engineering with over forty successful marine & riverine system builds delivered and a systems designer who was trained as a South African Naval diver and operationally deployed for more than twenty five years.

In January 2006 the company brought it’s 45 foot mining vessel, DMV Ocean Digger, into production on Alexkor’s sea concession 1A. The vessel is fitted with a 10” deck-plant and a 1050 mm mass-flow excavation system which has enabled it to successfully access the difficult reserves located beneath deep sand.

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