Gemcorp and ENDIAMA Mining, LDA have entered into a joint venture agreement to develop the Mulepe diamond deposit in Lunda Norte, Angola.
The Mulepe site, which contains significant kimberlite and alluvial deposits, represents a key strategic project that aims to provide important employment opportunities and unlock value in a remote region of the country.
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Gemcorp signed the joint venture agreement in December 2020 with ENDIAMA.
Atanas Bostandjiev, CEO, Gemcorp says:
“We are excited to continue playing a role in helping Angola capture the full value of its natural resources, while supporting the development of local communities.
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“Angola is a country full of potential, and this partnership is yet another example of our belief in Angola’s economic future.
“Our experience in project funding and development, coupled with our commodity trade expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa, means we are well placed to deliver on this project.
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“We look forward to working closely with ENDIAMA to make the Mulepe mine development a success for all stakeholders.”
Ganga Júnior, President of ENDIAMA, said:
“We believe that this partnership constitutes another important step towards diversifying the Angolan diamond sector across the entire value chain.
“We are pleased to be working with Gemcorp on what will be its first diamond exploration activity in the country – it is a project that will certainly contribute to the development of Angola, representing a strong sign of the opening of the sector to foreign direct investment.”
To ensure rapid development of the project, a pilot mining programme will be set up during 2021 to enable initial operations and diamond exports.
The pilot operations will enable the joint venture partners to improve their understanding of the mining operations, the type and quality of diamonds present within the concession, the capabilities of local third-party service providers and value generation potential through diamond sales.
Following the pilot program, the joint venture partners will then proceed with the development and expansion of operations to fully realise the potential of the hard-rock kimberlite deposits at Mulepe.
At full production, the project is expected to process ca. 3 Mt of kimberlite per annum with a total capital investment estimated at over US$150 million.
As the majority shareholder, developer and operator, Gemcorp will fund the pilot program and oversee the operations of the project.
ENDIAMA, who has significant institutional knowledge of the site and experience in the Lunda-Norte region, will enable the partnership to develop the project in a timely, cost effective and safe manner.
In the pilot stage, Gemcorp will be building a team of experienced professionals and expects to employ approximately 140 workers, the majority coming from the local community.
Employment opportunities will span management, mining, plant and camp operations. As an integral part of this project, Gemcorp is placing particular emphasis on prioritising local contracting services and sourcing.
This will also be reflected in the support for local projects whose impact on the community is relevant and aligned with the local government strategy.
The Mulepe project is Gemcorp’s first investment in diamond mining in Sub-Saharan Africa.
With a strong track record of successfully managing large-scale projects in Angola, including the Cabinda Oil Refinery, Gemcorp is well positioned to manage and deliver this project together with ENDIAMA.