"We aim to enter other business areas within mining, taking advantage of the vast potential opportunities offered by the Angolan and African markets."
The diamond industry is highly competitive and constantly changing. What creative measures have you implemented at Catoca to guarantee long-term profitability and growth in such a volatile market?
Price volatility requires a lot of caution so that we don't end up in a situation where the marginal contribution is negative. We have exercised the necessary caution, adopting very strict production plans in terms of cost control and fairly modest sales price forecasts. This positioning has allowed us to mitigate negative impacts, giving us room for manoeuvre in cases where there is some negative variation in prices. Another measure that has had an effect has to do with slowing down sales and waiting for the best times when the international market sees a slight reduction in supply and a consequent rise in prices.
To ensure the company's growth, we are committed to increasing diamond reserves by locating new kimberlites and participating in other mining projects, such as the Luaxe mine, known as one of the largest reserves discovered in recent years. On the road to development, within the framework of our vision for the company's development over the next 10 years, we aim to enter other business areas within mining, taking advantage of the vast potential opportunities offered by the Angolan and African markets.
Catoca had a very profitable 2021. What is the current business scenario?
2021 was one of our best years in terms of financial results and this was due to a combination of factors, most notably the improvement in operational efficiency and significant gains in terms of cost reduction. Market behaviour also played an important role in that the Catoca diamond was selling at a good price, above US$120 per carat.
But today, the mine's geotechnical conditions naturally impose a gradual and substantial rise in production costs, after 28 years of existence. And this is one of the major challenges we have to deal with in the coming years, aggravated by the low grade recorded at this stage, when we are overcoming a very rocky area of the mine.
Can you explain your role in creating this favourable environment for investors and how this has benefitted Catoca's operations? In the future, what is your vision and aspirations for Catoca?
Our experience, the quality of our technicians, our technological expertise and our financial strength make us a key player in the growth of mining in Angola in particular and in Africa in general. We are aware of this and are committed to this challenge, that’s why we are already taking steps to enter other areas of the mining chain outside of diamonds.
We know Angola's geological and mining potential and all its opportunities. We are also aware of the need to create an ecosystem that will allow more business to emerge and better conditions for mining in Angola, especially in terms of the supply chain. In other words, we can see our position as a promoter of the emergence of activity in other mining segments in Angola, such as gold, for example.
What advice would you give to future professionals who want to make a substantial impact in this difficult field as a respected figure in the mining sector?
My advice would be to seek out knowledge and adopt a stance based on ethics and respect for internationally accepted good practices so that we can convert potential wealth into wealth and quality of life for people and the development of the country. I personally have been betting on the emergence of a new generation of highly qualified professionals, capable of leading teams and promoting the development of mining companies. We are doing this by placing many young people in intermediate positions in our management structure, placing them in positions in the second and third lines of management, so that they have contact with the processes and develop the necessary experience for there to be a normal generational transition in the future. But this will have to be done ethically and very professionally for the benefit of the different stakeholders.