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De Beers signs exploration contracts in Angola

De Beers has inked two exploration agreements with the Angolan government, paving the way for the miner’s return to the African country after a decade-long absence.

The 35-year “mineral investment contracts” are for license areas in northeast Angola, De Beers said last week. They cover all stages from exploration to mining. The company expects to begin exploration activities this year, subject to regulatory approval.

De Beers and Endiama, Angola’s state-owned diamond company, will create new and separate joint-venture companies that will control each concession area, De Beers explained. The Anglo American subsidiary will hold the larger share of the companies, while Endiama will be able to increase its ownership over time in line with certain conditions. De Beers will continue to maintain a “substantial majority,” it said.

According to Reuters, De Beers’ interest in the companies will initially be 90% and Endiama’s will be 10%.

The agreements follow De Beers’ December announcement that it had applied to conduct exploration in Angola in light of the national government’s “substantive and consistent reforms.”

De Beers scaled back its operations in Angola during the civil war, which ran from 1975 to 2002. The company explored for diamonds in the country between 2005 and 2012 but decided the deposit it was working on was not economically viable, Reuters said.

“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,” commented De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “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.” – (

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