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Raw Materials

Endiama says problems with RDCongo due to spill in Catoca have been overcome

The president of state-owned diamond company Endiama said that the issues with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo) due to the spill at the Catoca mine were outdated and highlighted that Angola complies with environmental protection rules.


The president of Endiama, José Manuel Ganga Júnior, who was speaking on the sidelines of the international diamond conference, taking place in Saurimo (Lunda Sul), admitted that, for many years, Angola had neglected environmental aspects, which is currently not the case since none mining project is launched without approval of an environmental study.

Ganga Júnior admitted that the mining activity is one of the "main aggressors" of the environment, so it is necessary to have this damage repaired, adding that the liability has been going on for many years.

"The effort is great, but right now we are keen to observe the rules for environmental protection," he said.

"Of course, there are problems, but they are resolved, they are corrected, we recently had a problem with the Catoca mine, with its tailings pond, but it is outdated, it is regularized, now we need to work to permanently prevent this type of problem," he added.

A technical breakdown in the tailings pond resulted in a July spill at the Catoca mine, the fourth largest open pit mine in the world, which RDCongo officials called "an environmental catastrophe" and linked to the death of 12 people.

However, the mining company, which comprises Endiama, Russian multinational Alrosa and Chinese Lev Leviev International, denied the accusations, saying that the discharge did not contain toxic materials, having carried out a sampling of the affected river to demonstrate that it was not responsible for the human losses in the neighboring country.

Ganga Júnior guaranteed that no claim for compensation had been received and added that the two governments had been working at the level of the two countries' joint commissions and that the question concerning Catoca was "100 percent outdated".

"The rivers exist, the fish are there, life is maintained and that for us is the most important thing," he added, indicating that Angola has been working with the Congolese authorities, who will soon travel to the Portuguese-speaking country.

"We have already been to Congo, they will also come to Angola to assess exactly our technological process, what we have been doing and show that we have solved the environmental problems we have," he said.

As for diamond production, the president of Endiama said that the situation remains hampered by the covid-19 pandemic, but despite the restrictions, "things are better" after a few months of a completely closed market last year.

"In most of the mines we have not reached our full potential", acknowledged Ganga Júnior, who believes, however, that this year's production targets (9 million carats) will be achieved.

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