Focus on


The Catoca mine, which is responsible for 90 percent of Angola’s diamond production.


The rough diamond mining sector is due for a shakeup, with some of the perennial major producers, like Australia, seeing output dwindle, and Russia, which for the past several years has led the pack along with Botswana, having its route the market restricted at best, because of the sanctions brought against it after its army invaded Ukraine in February. But one producer whose star clearly is rising is Angola.

For years the southwest African country was regarded by geologists as one of the world’s more underexplored territories, in part because of the civil war that had raged two decades ago, but also because of its once doctrinaire communist government’s political isolation. Those days are essentially over, even though it is estimated that some 40 percent of its territory still needs to be prospected.

Now, according to its appropriately named Minister of Mining, Diamantino Azevedo, Angola is today the only serious producer where diamond output has been growing due to the development of new mines.

Of particular interest is the Luaxe deposit. It was discovered by the Russian diamond mining company Alrosa and Catoca in 2013.

Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, which is a venture that was established to mine the Cotoca kimberlite, the world’s fourth largest deposit, invested $200 million in studying and developing Luaxe. Alrosa owns 41 percent of Catoca, although the major shareholder is a Endiama, the state-owned diamond mining company.

Some have suggested that the Luaxe pipe may turn out to be the largest discovery in the diamond industry in 60 years, and it is already forecast to yield about 5.7 million carats in 2023. This is more than half of what Angola produced in 2020.

This sharp rise in output is what most probably led Mr. Azevedo recently to declare that Angola will likely become world’s second-largest rough diamond producer by 2030.


After producing 7.7 million carats in 2020, worth $1.02 billion, production rose to an estimated 9.1 million carats in 2021 is expected to reach 10.1 million in 2022.

Speaking to the Rapaport news service, José Manuel Ganga Júnior, CEO of Endiama, the goal is to build production to 20 million carats within five years.

There currently are 14 producing mines in the country, with four being kimberlite operations and the others alluvial projects. Catoca at present accounts for 90 percent of production by volume and 61 percent by value.

Production is ramping up fast at Luaxe, which is expected to provide the most significant boost to the Angolan diamond-mining industry. But there are other promising prospects, including the Camútwe kimberlite mine and the Lulo alluvial mine, which is owned by the Lucapa Diamond Company.

Lulo has produced more than 20 100-plus carat diamonds to date and is one of the world’s highest average U.S. dollar per carat alluvial diamond producers. Among them are Angola’s two largest recorded rough diamonds, weighing 404 carats and 227 carats.

Angola’s Minister of Mining Diamantino Azevedo, who predicts the country will become the world’s become world’s second-largest rough diamond producer by 2030.

Lucapa is also searching for the primary kimberlite sources of these exceptional alluvial gems, with the exploration focus moving to the Canguige catchment area following highly-encouraging results received in February 2020.

The involvement of independent mining companies like Lucapa is significant. Until 2018, Endiama had to be involved in any operation in the country, but in July of that year, legislation was passed that decentralized, permitting future mining projects proceed without the state-owned company’s involvement.

The Lulo alluvial mine, which is owned by the Lucapa Diamond Company.


The Angolan government has larger plans for its diamond sector, hoping develop a transparent trading capacity, as well as cutting center, where it would be able to retain more of the added value generated by the diamonds its produces.

In the past, all rough producers were obliged to channel their output through Sodiam, Endiama’s sales subsidiary. Today, mining companies are require to 20 percent of their production to Sodiam and another 20 percent to local manufacturers. The remaining goods can be sold on the open market. Goods sold through Sodiam are valued by an independent appraiser.

Sodiam is currently setting up an operation up to sell to regular long-term clients on a regular basis,on a basis not dissimilar to those instituted by De Beers and Alrosa.  It also has been holding tenders for special stones larger 10.8 carats in size.

The country is also looking to establish a diamond exchange in the capital city of Luanda, with one of the primary tasks of the facility being to house and regulate the rough diamond sales to the market.

Speaking at a conference in Dubai earlier this year, Mining Minister Azevedo said that the exchange will be managed by Sodiam and will provide a neutral platform that will channel a steady flow of diamonds.