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By Shrikesh Laxmidas
LUANDA, April 10 Angola, the world's
fourth-largest diamond producer by value, will approve a new
concession to De Beers to explore for diamonds, Geology and
Mines Minister Francisco Queiroz told the Reuters Africa Summit
London-based De Beers, majority-owned by global miner Anglo
American, previously explored in Angola between 2005 and
2012 but relinquished its concession.
"The company made that big investment in prospecting, and
unfortunately it didn't have great results, but it is making a
new bid, and another investment will be approved," Queiroz told
the Reuters Africa Summit.
De Beers Chief Executive Philippe Mellier told Reuters last
month that the company hoped talks with the Angolan government
would be successful, with a view to starting early stage work
later this year.
"De Beers has been negotiating with (state-owned diamond
firm) Endiama, and it is welcome in Angola as it has been in the
country for a long time, even before independence from Portugal
in 1975," Queiroz said.
The government of Angola, the world's sixth-largest diamond
producer by volume, is keen to boost a sector in which few
companies are currently drilling.
Russia's Alrosa, De Beers' main competitor,
already operates the Catoca mine in Angola, the world's
fourth-largest, in a joint venture with Endiama.
Queiroz said a new joint venture between Endiama and Alrosa,
announced in February, to explore in eastern Angola could
produce huge results, with the Russian firm set to spend $15.5
million to acquire the area and over $150 million if deposits
"De Beers and Alrosa could help contribute to a boom in
Angolan production in a short space of time."
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Jane Baird)