Artisanal diamond
diggers in Angola
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 May 2010 – Trans Hex Group Limited “’ Africa’s biggest publicly traded producer of diamonds “’ has been granted a 33% stake in a venture that is to produce gems in the Lunda-Norte province of northern Angola.

In a statement to the Johannesburg stock exchange, the Cape Town-based company confirmed that a contract converting its prospecting accord for the Luanda concession had been signed on Wednesday. The agreement gave Trans Hex the right to appoint the general manager, financial manager and operations manager for the project.

“The contract was the first awarded in three years by Endiama EP “’ Angola’s state-run diamond company “’ and is a sign that the industry is recovering from a crisis,” Endiama chairman Antonio Carlos Sumbula told reporters in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

“Endiama will hold 39% of the venture, which is known as Somiluana, while Angolan companies known as Caxinji, Wenji and Za-Kufuna will hold the remainder,” Sumbula said. “About US$28 million (R210 million) has already been invested in the project and production will begin immediately,” he added.

Angola is the world’s fifth-biggest producer of the gems by value, after Botswana, Russia, Canada and South Africa, according to De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company. The southern African country was forced to close mines in 2008 amid the global financial crisis which dampened demand for the gems.

Angolan diamond exports increased to 9.8 million carats last year from 8.67 million carats in 2008.