de beers - new technology

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    MAJOR diamond producer De Beers has unveiled a new airship technology that it says is the most innovative new method of exploration to hit the diamond exploration sector.

    The new airship, described to be "as big as a football pitch", was launched in South Africa last week and De Beers now plans to use the technology to target new discoveries in Botswana and other parts of Southern Africa which it said would give it a "competitive advantage".

    The company said the airship technology featured a gravity gradiometer, which is able to measure minute changes in the earth's gravity and thereby giving a greater indication as to the possible presence of diamonds.

    De Beers group manager of exploration Bill McKechnie said the airship was a first in terms of diamond exploration in Africa adding that the use of the technology comes at time when the company is looking to accelerate its global exploration program to meet the current demand for natural gem diamonds.

    "There is always a fascination in diamonds and one would have to go far to combine a more romantic association than Zeppelin airships and De Beers diamonds," De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said.

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