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Oranjemund and CDM (Consolidated Diamond Mines)

Francois Lampietti and I flew in from Capetown in October 1963 - I remember we heard about President Kennedy's shooting while watching "The Manchurian Candidate" in the Oranjemund theater.
It was our task to arrange for the sampling of the present-day beaches between Oranjemund and Luderitz to assess their diamond potential.
We were given the full cooperation of CDM's magnificent workshop and the consultant services of Dr. Charles Stocken, the resident geologist.
We first modified a frontend-loader so it could insert a 36 inch caisson into the beach. The caisson had teeth at the bottom and a ringpipe which jetted high pressure water downward, plus a suction pipe to evacuate the sand for processing.


A major problem was to get copious quantities of water to jet and pump, so we obtained a strong pump on a skid (left) and designed a string of 6-inch pipes carried on a suction pipe carriage (SPC, (right)). This device had about six pairs of large "wheels" covered with wire netting so it could be pushed through the rough surf by a Caterpillar and remotely anchored where it could pump relatively clean seawater.


Our next major problems were:
(1) to install a hydraulic jig attachment on the caisson (near right)
(2) the thickness of beach-sand near the Orange River was well over the 20-ft design thickness and
(3) the presence of cobbles (far right, with Francois) derived from dumps from the huge volumes of sediments processed by CDM.
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