De Beers expands presence in Angola’s diamond sector

Angola’s Catoca is the world’s fourth biggest diamond mine. (Image courtesy of Endiama.)

De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer by volume, has inked a series of agreements with the Angolan government, including one with state-owned diamond miner Endiama, covering processing and exploration prospects.

The pacts between the parties build on exploration contracts signed in 2022, which marked the return of De Beers to the country it left in 2012.

“We believe this is a real step forward in our cooperation,” chief executive Al Cook said during the signing ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.

Among the agreements inked by De Beers, a unit of Anglo American (LON: AAL), there is one with Angola’s national diamond trading company Sodiam, which seeks to ensure the use of best practice on sorting and processing rough diamonds mined in the country.

Other joint activities include reviewing several kimberlite deposits to reassess their economic attractiveness through the application of new De Beers technologies and promoting transparency and traceability of diamonds produced in Angola. The parties will also work together to identify opportunities to build local community capacity by leveraging De Beers’ Building Forever sustainability framework.

De Beers expands presence in Angola's diamond sector
Al Cook, De Beers CEO and Ganga Júnior, Endiama CEO. (Image courtesy of De Beers Group.)

Angola has long been a hot spot for diamond finds, but most companies, including De Beers, left in the early 2000s.

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) came back to Angola in 2019, on condition to own 75% of the initial phase of any mine developed with Endiama. The contract lets Endiama boost its stake to 49% in the future.

Angola – the world’s sixth-largest diamond producer according to Kimberley Process statistics – generated 8.7 million carats in 2022, down from 9.3 million carats the previous year.