De Beers Slated to Begin Diamond Exploration in Angola
The company has signed two Mineral Investment Contracts for license areas in northeast Angola.
The diamond miner and marketer said Wednesday it has signed Mineral Investment Contracts, or MICs, with the Angolan government for two license areas in the northeast quadrant of the country.
The MICs are for the award and exercise of mineral rights covering all stages of resource development, from exploration to mining. They are good for 35 years.
A separate, new joint venture company comprised of De Beers Group and Angola’s state-owned diamond company, Endiama, will hold each concession area.
De Beers will maintain a “substantial majority” (90 percent stake) in the new companies while Endiama will have the ability to incrementally increase its equity share over time, in line with “certain conditions” outlined in the shareholder agreements.
Wednesday’s announcement follows De Beers’ December news that it had applied for permission to look for diamonds in Angola.
According to Reuters, De Beers last operated in the country between 2005 and 2012, carrying out exploration activities but not finding an economically viable deposit to mine.
“The signing of these contracts represents an important milestone in our new partnership with Angola, which is based on a mutual desire to build a thriving diamond sector that delivers meaningful socioeconomic benefit for Angola’s citizens,” CEO Bruce Cleaver said.
“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.”
The world’s two other largest diamond miners, Alrosa and Rio Tinto, already are operating in Angola, though Alrosa’s goods remain under sanction in the U.S.
De Beers said it expects to start exploration activities in Angola this year, pending regulatory approvals.
Diamond mining will take place only if the company finds a deposit that’s economically feasible to develop.
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