Climbing to a height of 175 feet or more, giant kelp will be playing a key role in De Beers' ambitious efforts to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations by 2030.
The world's largest diamond miner by value announced that it is investing $2 million in Kelp Blue, an innovative start-up that is pioneering a nature-based solution for sequestering carbon dioxide.
Kelp Blue will be managing large-scale giant kelp forests in Namibian waters that have the potential to safely and permanently lock away vast amounts of CO2 in the ocean.
Research has shown that kelp forests have carbon sequestration properties exceeding those of terrestrial forests and that they help sustain healthy marine ecosystems, providing food and shelter for countless species.
The kelp cultivation will help offset the carbon footprint of the company's seven diamond-recovery vessels that operate along Namibia's coast. The newest one — the $420 million, 580-foot-long, state-of-the-art Benguela Gem — is capable of extracting 500,000 carats annually.
While De Beers Group’s primary focus in achieving its carbon-neutral goal will be on increasing efficiency and replacing fossil fuel and fossil-based energy from its operations with renewable alternatives, carbon credits resulting from the investment in Kelp Blue will support the company in removing any remaining emissions, alongside other nature-based initiatives.
The offshore mining project, which is known to yield some the world's highest-quality diamonds, is a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia.
In 2021, Kelp Blue was awarded a license to cultivate Giant Kelp off the coast of Namibia and is now in the pilot phase.
The business will contribute infrastructure development in and around the Namibian town of Lüderitz, benefitting the local community by creating employment and up-skilling opportunities in kelp cultivation and processing.
During the pilot phase, the business will generate a range of direct and indirect jobs in biotechnology, engineering, processing, support services and logistics in Namibia.
Daniel Hooft, Founder and CEO of Kelp Blue, commented: "De Beers’ early investment in our offshore pilot – a world first in terms of scale and ambition – specifically helps us accelerate the quantification and verification of the carbon sequestration pathways, which is essential for the whole seaweed industry in terms of scientifically establishing the potential of this novel nature-based solution.”
Credit: Photo courtesy of Kelp Blue.