Diamond giant De Beers signed several agreements with Angola on Tuesday on diamond processing and exploration rights, deepening the company’s renewed presence in the country, reports Reuters.
An agreement with Angola state-owned diamond company Endiama builds on the 2022 exploration contracts, De Beers’ first in Angola since leaving the country in 2012. Another agreement, signed with national diamond trading company Sodiam, seeks to ensure partners use best practice on sorting and processing diamonds, drawing on expertise developed in Botswana.
Other agreements include a push to consider enhancing semi-industrial mining, so it is “done in the right way” and a contract with Endiama to review the potential of kimberlite, the igneous rock that is the primary source of diamonds, across Angola, by using the latest technology to identify new commercial prospects.
[See more: Angola inaugurates a massive new diamond mine]
Angola produces 9 million carats of rough diamonds per year, according to figures from Sodiam, of which 20 percent must be sold to local manufacturers by law. Endiama expects to increase its rough diamond production this year by over 40 percent to 14 million carats, driven by output from the US$600 million Luele project.
Luele opened last November to a weak global diamond market, one still under pressure after oversupply last year led Botswana to halt two of its diamond auctions. Botswana and Angola are among the top diamond producers in Africa and the respective mining ministers of each country attended the Tuesday signing.
“We believe this [series of agreements] is a real step forward in our cooperation,” said De Beers CEO Al Cook. “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.”