De Beers is to start diamond exploration in Angola later this year after signing two mineral investment contracts with the Angolan government but the secretive group is giving little away on the details of the agreements.
De Beers announced today that the two licences covering prospects in the north-east of the country are for the “award and exercise of mineral rights covering all stages of diamond resource development from exploration to mining and span a period of 35 years.”
But the group does not specify its shareholding in the new developments which are joint ventures with Endiama – the Angolan government’s state-owned diamond company.
In a statement De Beers said only that “De Beers Group will hold a substantial majority in the new companies, with Endiama having the ability to incrementally increase its equity share over time in line with certain conditions outlined in the shareholder agreements, albeit with De Beers Group maintaining a substantial majority.”
By contrast, when Rio Tinto announced it was returning to Angola in October last year it specified that it would hold a 75% stake in the first phase of any mine developed with Endiama holding 25% but that the contract left open the possibility of Endiama increasing its holding to 49%.
De Beers’ return to Angola represents a breakthrough for the country following the regulatory and policy changes made by the government of President Joao Lourenco who replaced former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2017.
Angola is arguably the most prospective country in the world in which to look for a major new diamond deposit but De Beers and most other diamond explorers left the country in the early 2000’s.
That was because of the repressive business conditions imposed by Dos Santos. These included a ban on any foreign company owning a majority interest in the diamond projects it was developing.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver commented that, “Angola has worked hard in recent years to create a stable and attractive investment environment and we are pleased to be returning to active exploration in the country.
“Angola remains highly prospective and we look forward to being part of this next stage in the development of Angola’s diamond sector.”
Dundo, Angola. Two diamonds, one 131-carat and the other 133-carat, were found in Angola’s Lulo mine in eastern Lunda Norte province, national diamond company Endiama announced here Friday.
The white colored gems were found in block 46 and 21 with more than 100 carats discovered in that mine, according to a note from Endiama.
Since the beginning of its exploration in 2010, the Lulo mine is known for its rare and high quality diamonds.
The mine’s blocks 6 and 8 are responsible for the production of 13 of the 15 stones with over 100 carats from Lulo mine, including the largest diamond ever found in Angola in 2016, with 404.2 carats.
The Lulo project, with a concession area of 3,000 square km, is operated within the scope of a partnership in which Endiama holds 32 percent, Lucapa Diamond Company Limited 40 percent, and the operator Rosas & Petalas 28 percent.
Luanda, Mar 4 (Prensa Latina) Popular claims in southern Angola warned of the illegal extraction of diamonds and other natural resources in localities of Cuando Cubango, local press reported on Wednesday. According to the Jornal de Angola daily, the warnings came from the municipality of Mavinga, where the population observed a group of foreigners in clandestine mining activities.
Cited by the newspaper, the province’s governor Julio Bessa said he knew the claims of the population and promised that personnel from the Ministries of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, and Interior will carry out the relevant investigations to adopt measures.
From the Caiundo commune, 135 kilometers from the city of Menongue, reports also arrived on the extraction of various mineral resources, including mercury, confirmed the governor, who assured he was not in doubts about the complaints’ veracity.
As he acknowledged, another similar concern is the uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources in the province, rich in biodiversity, wood, diamonds, copper, gold, bronze, quartz and iron.
The aforementioned irregularities are a concern of the national authorities, which launched Operation Transparency in September 2018, focused primarily on preventing and punishing crimes related to diamond trafficking and immigration.
As a result of the plan, in September 2019 the executive reported on the seizure of about 35,000 carats in one year.