De Beers has expanded its engagement in Angola’s diamond industry by announcing a partnership aimed at boosting diamond production from previously explored sites. This agreement, formalized at the Mining Indaba conference, involves collaboration with key entities including the government-owned diamond company Endiama, the state diamond trader Sodiam, and Angola’s National Mineral Resource Agency.
This recent memorandum of understanding builds upon De Beers’ return to Angola in 2022 through two long-term contracts, known as Mineral Investment Contracts, for diamond exploration. These contracts marked a significant re-entry for De Beers into Angola after a hiatus of two decades. Alongside increasing diamond production, the memorandum also emphasizes the expansion of alluvial diamond mining activities and the implementation of social development initiatives within the country.
Al Cook, CEO of De Beers, highlighted Angola as a compelling example of how economic reforms can attract investment, expressing optimism about the future prospects in the country. This return signifies a notable breakthrough for Angola, facilitated by regulatory and policy changes initiated under the leadership of President Joao Lourenco, who assumed office in 2017. Angola is recognized as one of the most promising countries for the discovery of significant diamond deposits, although many diamond exploration firms, including De Beers, had withdrawn from the country in the early 2000s.
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In addition to De Beers, other major players like Rio Tinto have expressed renewed interest in Angola’s diamond sector. Rio Tinto’s announced return in 2019 outlined plans for a partnership with Endiama, with potential ownership structures indicating a significant role for the Angolan government in mining ventures.
Under the terms of the memorandum, De Beers and Angola plan to assess various kimberlite deposits utilizing advanced De Beers technologies to evaluate their economic viability. Although specific details regarding the locations of these deposits were not disclosed, De Beers’ Mineral Investment Contracts primarily focus on prospects in the northeastern region of Angola.
Ganga Júnior, CEO of ENDIAMA, described the partnership as strategic, emphasizing its objective of enhancing diamond production to foster socio-economic development within Angola.