Luanda, Angola — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 June 2008 – Angolan state-owned diamond company Endiama is to increase its production by about 10% to 10.5 million carats in 2009, boosted by new discoveries and greater demand from India and China.
Reporting from Luanda, Reuters quotes Endiama marketing director Sebastiao Panzo as saying “right now we are extracting about 9.7 million carats a year, which resulted in US$1.3 billion (almost R10 billion) in revenues in 2007. “We can comfortably say we will reach 10.5 million carats by 2009," he told the news agency in an interview.
Panzo added that Endiama – which controls 14 diamond mines in the southern African country – was looking for partners to explore for new deposits. Angola is Africa’s third largest diamond producer, and the world’s fifth biggest in terms of value
“There is huge potential for diamond mining in Angola. That is why we want to attract more partners to extract diamonds and satisfy strong demand from countries like India and China,” Panzo explained.
Reuters reports that some of the revenues from the sale of diamonds – which once helped fund the war between the Angolan government and the UNITA rebel movement – are being used to fund Endiama’s expansion and exploration programme.
The lion’s share of Angolan diamond production comes from alluvial deposits — stones found in and around rivers — but Endiama has high hopes for major kimberlite discoveries as well.
South African mining giant De Beers – 45% owned by Anglo American – has invested in such a concession in Angola’s north-eastern region. Other foreign firms have also expressed interest in exploration in the area.
"We want to be one of the most active countries in diamond mining," Panzo said.
He dismissed fears that the forthcoming national election could destabilise the country and damage diamond exploration and production.
“There is only one army now in Angola, therefore there is little or no risk of war,” said Panzo, who added that Endiama was considering listing its sales and distribution arm, Sodiam, when the Luanda Stock Exchange opened.