Espírito Santo Angolan diamond concessions valued at US$50 billion

13 December 2005

Lisbon, Portugal, 13 Dec – The reserves in the diamond concessions of Portugal’s Espírito Santo Group (ESG) in Angola have been valued at between US$40 and US$50 million, said Helder Bataglia, president of Escom, a subsidiary of financial group ESG.

In an interview with Portuguese weekly Expresso, Bataglia said that Escom was now, “in an important situation on the level of world diamond mining,” thanks to the exploration partnerships with Russian company Alrosa, and, more recently Australia’s BHP Billiton.

Along with Alrosa, Escom has a 45 percent stake in the company that will explore the Luó mine, in the Angolan province of Lunda Norte, recently set up in partnership with state diamond company Endiama, Hipergesta and Angodiam.

Some US$300 million are expected to be invested in the mine in order to reach a processing capacity of four million tons per year.

Escom recently associated itself with BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, for eight diamond concessions in Angola.

In the interview with Expresso, Bataglia said that Escom would also hold the concession for the Luapasso dam, in Lunda Norte, which has an installed capacity of 25 megawatts and will provide energy for the diamond mines and some residential areas.

Bataglia also said Escom planned to contribute to increasing Portuguese and Chinese relations with Angola, making use of Chinese investment capacity and the market knowledge that companies such as Escom already have, as it ahs been operating in Angola since 1992.

Escom recently set up a partnership with Beiya, state railway equipment company, through China Beyia Escom, based in Hong
Kong, and which plans to make joint investments in Africa.

Apart from the diamond sector, Escom is involved in fishing, with Angolan company Star Fish, which is soon expected to triple the size of its fishing fleet and also has plans to invest in a canning factory.

Escom is also involved in aviation, through Air Gemini, and real estate, a sector in which it is currently investing nearly US$85 million in a skyscraper in Angola’s capital, Luanda. (macauhub)