Angola announces winners of diamond, phosphate mining concessions

The Angolan government announced on Friday that four national and foreign companies have been chosen to confer mining rights to prospect and exploit diamonds and phosphates, leaving out the only competitor for the iron concession.

The evaluation committee decided to award the phosphate concessions to Minbos Resources, Lda, of Australian origin (Cátata, Cabinda) and Cimenfort Industrial, Lda, one of the major national cement production companies and with fertilizer production activities in Brazil (Lucunga, Zaire province).

In the case of the diamond concessions, the winners were Ishangol LLC, of North American origin and present in Angola for the purchase and cutting of diamonds (Camafuca-Camazambo, Lunda Norte province) and the B&A Consortium (a company of Brazilian origin, with extensive experience in the diamond industry) and Somipa (an Angolan company already operating in diamonds) for the Tchitengo concession, which covers the provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul.

The only competitor that showed interest in the iron concession did not reach the minimum required standard, according to the evaluation committee, so it will have to wait for a new tender.

This was the first public tender held by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum for the award of mining concessions under the Mining Code, the results of which drive other tenders.

Initially, 17 companies submitted their bids for this tender, of which 10 for phosphates, six for diamonds and one for iron, and the evaluation committee only allowed 13 to participate.

In his speech, the coordinator of the Evaluation Committee, Makenda Ambroise, pointed out, regarding phosphates, that the country currently imports fertilizers to support agriculture and the chemical industry, so the start-up of these two projects in Cabinda and Zaire will help reduce these imports.

For his part, the chairman of the board of the National Diamond Company of Angola (Endiama), Ganga Júnior, explained that the two diamond concessions in this bidding process had already been granted before.

“Camafuca, for example, has had more than 10 years already granted, with national and foreign businessmen, but in the meantime it has not started, and in order for the mines to contribute to this process of wealth formation, we had to work towards terminating the previous contracts and seeking solutions,” he said, adding that the investments in the two concessions “are not less than $150 to $200 million” (138 to 185 million euros) each.

Ganga Junior also said that “some care was taken in defining the profile of the companies that would be accepted to participate in this tender and the issue of their technical and financial capacity and experience was an important element of selection”.

According to Ganga Júnior, the detailed negotiation process now follows, facilitated by the first phase, in which an analysis was made of the programs presented and the entire profile of the issues raised in the contest.

“Now we are just going to go deeper, proceed to the negotiation and signing of the respective contracts”, said Ganga Júnior, pointing out that the de-bureaucratisation of the process “is extremely important”.

“The essential work has been done, now the negotiation doesn’t seem to take that long”, he stressed.

When these two projects start, at least 3,000 new jobs will be guaranteed, said Ganga Júnior.

Regarding the capacities of the two concessions, Camafuca-Camazamba, the largest known Kimberlite (diamond rock) in the world, with 160 hectares, discovered some time ago, was the object of geological studies, up to a depth of 145 meters, with a volume of reserves of 209 million cubic meters of ores, with 23,240 million carats.

With regard to the Tchitengo concession, the result of the merger of three previous concessions (Tchiúzo, Itengo and Tchiege), Ganga Júnior advanced that Tchiúzo was studied up to a depth of 350 meters and has 63 million tons of ores and about 27 million carats.