Catoca – one of the
surviving diamond
projects in Angola
 
Luanda, Angola — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 March 2009 – Angola’s state-owned diamond mining company, Endiama LP, says the country’s diamond industry is close to shutting down because the global financial crisis has sapped demand for the gems.

“There is a great prospect of the industry shutting down,” said Endiama marketing and communications director Sebastiao Panzo in an interview here with Bloomberg News. “The situation is critical,” he added. “We’re hoping government policies to help the industry will have some effect.”

Angola is Africa’s fourth-biggest diamond producer after Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa, according to the US Geological Survey. Last month Angolan mines minister Makenda Ambroise said his government planned to approve a stimulus package to help the diamond industry weather the slowdown in demand.

Diamond prices fell 8.5% last year – the first annual decline since 2003 – according to the Polished Prices.com Diamond Prices Overall Index.

The Angolan News Agency Angop, citing local governor Candida Narciso, reported that ten of 14 diamond exploration ventures in Angola’s Lunda Sul region were closing down. “Only four operations are able to do business during the crisis,” the Luanda-based news agency said. “Alrosa Company’s Catoca venture is among those still operating,” it added.