This process is followed by strip mining, a process that involves stripping the sand overlying the deposit down to the bedrock footwall with large earth-moving equipment. Strip mining (or “stripping”) is a form of surface mining which involves the removal of a layer of material known as overburden to access buried mineral deposits. Throughout Namdeb’s Southern Coastal Mines history this has been done using bucket wheel excavators, belly-scrapers, dredges and conventional truck and shovel/excavator fleets, of which the latter is the method in use today.
Once overburden has been removed and diamondiferous gravel is exposed, the process stockpiles as much of the ore lying on top of the footwall where possible. The same process also creates a large defensive barrier called a seawall that serves to protect the mining activities from the Atlantic Ocean.