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Angolan diamond recovery

Diamonds – demand is
recovering in Angola
Luanda, Angola — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 April 2009 – Angola – the world’s fifth-largest producer of diamonds – is experiencing a recovery in demand for the precious gemstones.

In an interview here with Bloomberg News, mines minister Mankenda Ambroise revealed that because of what he called ‘positive signs of demand,’ the country had re-opened ten of the mines that it had temporarily closed.

“We’re now selling more than US$70 million (R645 million) of gems a month,” Ambroise added. “That compares with monthly sales of about US$25 million (R230 million) at the beginning of the year, and almost no sales in March.”

Bloomberg News reports that Antwerp – the Belgian port city that handles half the world’s cut diamonds – reported a 33% drop in exports of polished gems in February. Diamond miners – including the world’s largest, De Beers – have cut output by temporarily shutting mines as the global financial crisis curbs gem demand.

“Angola will produce about 9 million carats this year – 7% less than in 2008 – because of the interruption to production,” Ambroise said. “With progress in sales, little by little, we will recover our financial equilibrium.”

Prices of VS2 G diamonds – a commonly traded gem – stand at US$3 690 for a one-carat stone, according to Antwerp-based PolishedPrices.com. They averaged US$4 886 over the last 12 months.