The contracts are the result of "several rounds of negotiations between Angolan institutions and De Beers, since October 2021", stresses the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas (Mirempet), in a statement.
De Beers will carry out prospecting for primary diamond deposits in an area of 9984 square kilometers, in the municipalities of Saurimo, Dala and Muconda, in the province of Lunda Sul and in an area of 9701 square kilometers, in the municipalities of Chitato, Lucapa and Cambulo in Lunda Norte.
Angola has been negotiating for several years the return of De Beers to the country, in a process of restoring the confidence of the South African diamond company, recognized as "difficult" by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Diamantino de Azevedo, in February 2020.
The conflict between De Beers and the Government, over the diamond company Endiama, began in early 2000, after the authorities suspended all contracts for the purchase and sale of diamonds as part of a restructuring of the sector, which included the creation of Sodiam , a company that has been granted a monopoly on the marketing of diamonds.
Following this worsening of relations, at the end of March 2000, a batch of diamonds from Angola, sent by Sodiam, was held in Antwerp, Belgium, for a few days due to a judicial request by De Beers, which defended its rights on the marketing of those precious stones.
In the following months, there were several initiatives to improve the relationship between the two parties, which included a trip to Luanda by the president of the South African multinational to meet with the then President José Eduardo dos Santos, but all without success.
For that reason, in 2001, the year in which it suspended its activity in Angola, De Beers filed several arbitration proceedings against the State, which it would later lose.
In 2018, during his visit to Angola, the CEO of De Beers, Bruce Cleaver, was received by President João Lourenço, expressing satisfaction at the invitation launched to the multinational to return to the country, where he has maintained a residual presence since 2014.
Bruce Cleaver will be the signatory of the projects that will be initialed by the Angolan side by Jacinto Rocha, president of the National Agency of Mineral Resources, and José Ganga Júnior, president of the state diamond company, Endiama.
The Mirempet statement highlights that "De Beers' renewed interest in diamond projects in Angola stems from the reforms implemented by the executive", giving "greater transparency to the processes of granting mining rights, as well as greater participation in the socio-economic development of the areas miners".