Angola to launch diamond exchange in Luanda in 2021

Australia’s Lucapa Diamond owns and operates the prolific Lulo mine in Angola. (Image courtesy of Lucapa Diamond | YouTube.)

The government of Angola said on Tuesday it has identified key steps it needs to take before launching its own diamond exchange in Luanda, which is slated to open by the end of 2021.

Mining and oil minister Diamantino Azevedo said its office is currently focused on setting up a gemological academy and a technological research centre within the same free-trade zone the Angolan Diamond Bourse (ADB) will be located, African Intelligence reported.

Angola, the world’s fifth diamond producer by value and no.6 by volume, appointed in June Belgian expert Peter Meeus as an adviser. The former chief of HRD Antwerp, Europe’s leading authority in grading of diamonds, is assisting authorities with the creation of a diamond hub to streamline sales and marketing of the rough the country produces.

Minister Azevedo says having a trade centre within the country will enable the entire flow and marketing of Angolan diamonds to be monitored through a single channel.

Changing industry

Angola’s diamond industry, which emerged a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully being liberalized.

Last year, the country held its first public diamond auction and since then, producers no longer have to sell at below-market prices to a handful of buyers favoured by the state.

The national diamond company (Endiama) recently revealed it was seeking international partners in an attempt to place Angola among the world’s top-three diamond producers and diversify the economy away from oil.

Angola expects to produce 8 million carats of diamonds this year, two million short of the original targets set by Endiama, because of disruptions caused by covid-19.

The country’s total output in 2019 was 9.1 million carats, a figure the government expects to increase to almost 14 million carats by 2022.