The mining process begins with accreting beaches and pushing the ocean shoreline back to create minable areas. Accretion draws on two sources, namely the normal production stripping of overburden in production areas, and dedicated accretion from identified sand sources such as historic overburden dumps.
Accretion, the opposite of erosion, is a gradual process in which layers of a material are formed as small amounts are added over time. Accretion in the Namdeb context is the increase of land by the deposition of sediment, usually sand or tailings. This is measured by the seaward advance of a shoreline indicator, such as the high-water line. Creating mineable areas also involve “beach nourishment, a methodology used to accrete beaches, by dumping overburden to create groynes jutting like jetties out into the waves and providing earth-moving vehicles access to the beaches to deposit sand along the beach at several strategic points along the desert coastline.
Accretion is important for mining at Namdeb because it opens areas for mining activities. To date, Namdeb has moved just shy of 32 million tons of overburden, which in essence, is the same material found on the beaches, to allow for responsible mining.