South Africa’s DeBeers wants to boost production in Africa and looks for partner in China

3 July 2006

Johannesburg, South Africa, 03 July – South African diamond company, DeBeers, the world’s largest in the sector, is boosting its involvement in gem exploration in Africa, particularly Angola, and is searching for a partner in China, the company said.

In its annual report, published at the end of last week, the company highlighted the potential of operations underway in Angola to fulfil the company’s aim of increasing production, in order to deal with expected annual market growth of between 6 and 7 percent over the next few years.

“We are well positioned to make new discoveries in many of the areas in which we are active. We are now mining in areas of high potential in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic,” the company said.

According to the Africa Monitor newsletter, DeBeers’ internal surveys found potential diamond areas in the south of Angola, in Cuando-Cubango province, showing that the country’s diamond mining potential is not solely located in the northwest, in the provinces of Lunda and Malange.

In areas that are already being mined DeBeers has found higher levels of diamonds than were so far expected as well as having made an important discovery in Camissombo, Lunda-Norte, Africa Monitor said.

The company said it was looking for potential joint ventures and was “actively searching” for partners in Russia, the Ukraine and China.

In its report DeBeers also said it planned to reduce the annual growth rate of its costs in Botswana from 16 percent to 9 percent and next year launch its first sea bed diamond mining operations, in South Africa.

Russian diamond company Alrosa, which has a significant presence in Angola, said last week it planned to launch a large-scale operation in Russia and Africa in order to replace its reserves.

After bringing an end to its commercial agreement with DeBeers, the Russian company is launching its own international representation, having already opened offices in Antwerp, Hong Kong, Dubai and Geneva. (macauhub)