“De Beers’ return to Angola marks an important moment for the country and for the global mining sector,” Angola’s oil and natural resources minister Diamantino Azevedo said.

After signing two mineral investment contracts with the Angolan government, diamond miner De Beers said in a statement on Wednesday, April 20, that it will be returning to Angola, the southern African country that it left in 2012. These contracts cover a 35-year period and give De Beers the rights to explore and mine—through two new joint ventures with Angola’s state diamond company Endiama.

In this partnership, De Beers will be holding 90% of the new joint ventures, while Endiama will handle 10% initially, however, according to Angola’s oil and natural resources minister Diamantino Azevedo, the latter can increase its equity share over time.

“De Beers’ return to Angola marks an important moment for the country and for the global mining sector,” Azevedo says.

Alternative to Russian Diamonds

Previously, De Beers explored for diamonds in Angola from the year 2005 to 2012 but concluded that a stand-alone deposit in the area was not economic, thus relinquishing its concession. However, with Angola being the seventh biggest producer of rough diamonds in 2020, according to Kimberley Process statistics, it could be an alternative source of diamonds.

Very timely too, following Western sanctions on Russia, the world’s biggest diamond producer.

With pending regulatory approvals to date, De Beers expects to start exploration activities this year. “Angola has worked hard in recent years to create a stable and attractive investment environment and we are pleased to be returning to active exploration in the country,” De Beers chief executive officer Bruce Cleaver said in a statement.

And with a commitment to greater transparency, Angola applied to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative earlier this month. There, countries report publicly on government revenues—from mining to oil, and many other resources and industries.

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