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Diamond industry of Angola

27 july 2020

Diamond Mining in Angola

Diamond mining in Angola dates back to 1917 when a consortium of Belgian, English and Portuguese investors established Companhia de Diamantes de Angola, or Diamang. In 1961, a civil war broke out in Angola against the Portuguese colonialism. In 1975, Angola gained independence. In 1981, ENDIAMA, Angola's state-owned diamond company, was set up based in Luanda, the capital of Angola. In 2002, Angola joined the Kimberley Process Certification System. At the end of July 2020, the annual report for 2019 was released. Table 1 shows Angola’s diamond production figures in 2006-2019.

Table 1

Diamond production in Angola, 2006-2019

The table is based on the Kimberley Process’s annual reports, 2006-2019

Sociedade Mineira de Catoca

ALROSA has a stake in Sociedade Mineira de Catoca producing diamonds in Angola at the Catoca deposit. The first production facilities were commissioned in 1997. At present, Catoca has two beneficiation plants with a total capacity of above 10.0 mn tonnes of ore per year. The Catoca kimberlite pipe development programme involves continuing its opencast mining to a depth of 600 m during 2012-2034. Catoca was the first mining company in the Angola’s history to launch large-scale mining at one of the largest primary diamond deposits - the Catoca kimberlite pipe ranking fourth in the world (Lunda Sul Province).

It is owned by a consortium of international mining companies including ENDIAMA (Angola's state-owned mining company with a 41% stake), Russia's ALROSA (41%), LL International Holding B. V. owned by China-SONAGOL International Holding Ltd. (18.0%). ENDIAMA, Angola's state-owned diamond mining company receives significant dividends in accordance with its share in the authorized capital of the company.

The Catoca’s diamond production figures in 2006-2019 are given in Table 2.

Table 2

Diamond production in Angola, 2006-2019

The table is based on the Catoca’s annual reports, 2006-2016.

The diamonds mined by Sociedade Mineira de Catoca have become a sales leader in Angola. In 2019, production at the mine amounted to 7.8 mn carats by volume and $700 mn by value. Catoca’s management is actively expanding the mine’s production. The average value of diamonds produced at the mine is $90 per carat. The inferred reserves are 50 mn carats.

Angola's diamond industry outlook

1. In 2020, the pressure from the lab-grown diamonds will increase, so the beneficiation in Angola, as in other African countries, does not play a significant role in the diamond industry.

2. The global crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a decrease in the diamond production by 25-30 percent.

Yury Danilov, Ph. D., independent expert and analyst