De Beers pursues new diamond prospects in Angola
Anglo American unit has signed agreements on diamond processing and exploration prospects
Anglo America unit De Beers has signed agreements with Angola on diamond processing and exploration prospects, CEO Al Cook said on Tuesday, as the diamond producer deepens its presence in the southern African country.
The agreements, including one with Angola’s state-owned diamond company Endiama, build on exploration contracts signed in 2022 when De Beers returned to the country it left in 2012.
“We believe this is a real step forward in our co-operation,” Cook said during a signing ceremony on the margins of an African mining conference in Cape Town.
One agreement with Sodiam, Angola’s national diamond trading company, sought to ensure partners used best practice on sorting and processing diamonds in Angola, leaning on expertise developed by De Beers in Botswana.
“Definitely, with De Beers there, we will increase our rough diamond production and with more rough diamonds available, we can have more factories and more processing capacity in Angola,” Sendji Dias, head of the planning department at Sodiam, told Reuters.
According to a Sodiam presentation to delegates, seen by Reuters, Angola produces about 9-million carats of rough diamonds a year. Of these, 20% must be sold to local manufacturers under national law.
The presentation showed Endiama expected to significantly increase its rough diamond production this year to 14-million carats. An Endiama official was not immediately available to confirm this figure, which would be driven by output from Angola's $600m Luele project, that opened in a weak global diamond market.
The market is still under pressure after oversupply last year led Botswana to halt two of its diamond auctions.
Dias said Angola, which aims to become a reference centre for diamond beneficiation in Africa, wants to construct 19 polishing factories in the next three years. Indian companies such as KGK and Kapu Gems dominate the domestic cutting and polishing trade.
Botswana and Angola are among the top diamond producers in Africa and their respective mining ministers were present at the signing ceremony on Tuesday.
Another agreement considered enhancing semi-industrial mining so that it was “done in the right way”.
The third contract with Endiama sought to review the potential of kimberlite, the rock where diamonds are found, across Angola, by using the latest technology to identify new commercial prospects.
“We’re enormously excited about the potential in Angola and what we are delighted about is working with the Angolan government to simultaneously address the potential under the ground in Angola, but to turn it into unlimited potential over the ground for the people of Angola,” Cook said.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.