"We believe that we will have an increasing participation in the international diamond market, resulting from the expansion of the availability of Angolan diamonds."
What were the main milestones achieved by Catoca last year?
In 2021, although there has been a slow recovery in the industry of equipment and spare parts that support the production process in mining, there was - and still is - a shortage of these materials in the international market, a fact that forces us to keep operating with a fleet of equipment that needs to be renewed, as well as to find alternative solutions for highly specialized services provided by third parties.
Meanwhile, despite all these challenges, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca obtained a profit of US$270 million in 2021, resulting from a turnover of US$757 million.
What are the main demand trends you have observed in the diamond industry?
We believe that, as a country, we will have an increasing participation in the international diamond market, resulting from the expansion of the availability of Angolan diamonds in the world market as a consequence of the start-up of new projects in the prospecting phase and some already in production, such as the Luele mine in the Luaxe concession.
We are also encouraged by the fact that the forecasts for the coming years point to potential growth of the diamond consumption market, both for jewellery and industrial purposes.
How has the fiscal and economic climate in Angola changed in recent years for investors?
The fiscal and economic climate has seen significant advances in recent years, creating a very favourable environment for investors. In addition to legislation being improved, there has been a major focus on the quantity and quality of information about diamond occurrences and facilitated procedures to access this information for investment purposes.
The “Planageo” [National Geology Plan] includes all the essential information on anomalies, occurrences and reserves, access procedures and more. It is a comprehensive package of geological information held at the Geological Institute of Angola and a useful tool for investors. Likewise, there has also been a significant improvement in the number of junior prospecting companies whose presence is essential to attract large mining companies to Angola.
What is Catoca's commitment to sustainability?
From the environmental point of view, our operation complies with internationally accepted good practices in the mining industry, obeying a strict protocol for the preservation of flora and fauna. Besides the permanent control of the water quality, we have been constantly doing reforestation with the main focus on native species.
For the coming years, we will assist in the development of a nature reserve within our concession, allowing us greater fauna preservation, especially of endangered species.
In terms of social responsibility, Catoca is proud to be the catalyst of economic and social development of the Eastern region of Angola, specifically the Provinces of Lunda-Sul, Lunda-Norte and Moxico. Our projects cover areas such as education, health, youth and sports, culture, entrepreneurship, water supply programs, and agricultural development programs. We are changing the lives of thousands of people, building new life perspectives, with a greater focus on the families that reside around our concession.
What are your main priorities for 2023?
Among the various priorities for 2023, it is important to highlight the great challenge of increasing our reserves, since the date for the conclusion of the Catoca mine exploration in the manner we do today (open pit) is getting closer and closer. This leads us to deepen the studies that could lead us to an underground mine, because there are indicators that point to the existence of reserves below 600 m in the Catoca kimberlite.
Along with this challenge, on the list of priorities are also the investments that have not been made in the last three years because of Covid-19, namely, the updating of the equipment, reinforcement of the operations of waste rock removal and the purchase of technology and complementary services to the production process.