JOHANNESBURG – Diamond sales brought Angola revenues of $294.85-million during the third quarter of this year. This represented an 11.7% increase over the figure for the same period last year – or, in monetary terms, a rise of $30.7-million. This information was released in Luanda early this month by the State-owned Sociedade de Comercialização de Diamantes de Angola (the Diamond Commercialisation Company of Angola, better known by its Portuguese acronym, Sodiam), the Macauhub news agency reported.

The revenues for the third quarter came from the sale of 2.94-million carats, a jump of 46% over the figure for the third quarter of last year. In numbers, this increase amounted to 722 800 carats. Currently, Angola produces about nine-million carats of diamonds a year, although this figure will increase significantly when the new big Luaxe mine comes into full production. Luaxe is expected to drive the country’s annual diamond production up to 14-million carats by 2022.

Sodiam currently has the responsibility for buying, and then selling on, all the country’s diamonds that are produced by semi-industrial and artisanal operations, and 60% of the industrially produced diamonds. The company sold more than 8.4-million carats, presumably last year, the news agency also reported. These diamonds were sourced from 12 mines, and achieved an average price of $145.50/ct.

The main market for Angolan diamonds remains the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE market keeps Sodiam as an exclusive channel for diamond sales to diamond polishing factories either through contracts or auctions.

Meanwhile, the diamond polishing sector in Angola continues to expand. The country’s fourth diamond-polishing factory was opened at the start of this month, the local media reported. The new facility was inaugurated by Minerals Resources and Petroleum Minister Diamantino Azevedo.

The new factory is KGK Angola, and it has a capacity to polish 100 000 carats of rough diamonds a year. The Minister praised the investment for establishing another value-adding company in the country. He highlighted that Angolan law required that 20% of the diamonds mined in the country be polished in the country. In reality, the requirements of the law had never been met and the proportion of Angolan diamonds polished locally had never exceeded 2%.

The project is being implemented in phases. The initial phase has involved an investment of $5-million, with another $20-million to come. It has created jobs for 50 Angolans, a number which will increase to 200 during the first half of next year.

KGK Angola is the fruit of a partnership between the Indian-owned, Hong Kong-domiciled KGK, Sodiam and a company referred to simply as UST. KGK holds 65% of the new polishing factory, UST 30% and Sodiam 5%. Diamonds are Angola’s largest nonpetroleum and gas export commodity. Even so (according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity), they accounted for only 4.3% of the country’s exports in 2017, compared with the 88% accounted for by crude petroleum. (Petroleum gas represented another 4.5% of Angolan exports) – Mining Weekly