Angolan mining company Sociedade Mineira da Catoca plans to invest US$330 million over the next three years in large sample collection works in the area of the future Luaxe mine, the company’s director general announced on Thursday in Saurimo.
The start of the work is scheduled for the first half of 2019, allowing for the collection of data on the quality of diamonds and, consequently, their price, based upon which the economic and financial feasibility study will be carried out as well as the exploration project.
Director general Benedito Paulo, summarising the 2018 fiscal year, added that the company had already invested about US$114.4 million in Luaxe, since the start of geological prospecting.
The Luaxe mine, which is 25 kilometres from Catoca and is expected to start operating this year, will cover an area of 100 hectares and will be 400 metres deep, and may produce up to 350 million carats of diamonds.
Paulo said the company had posted turnover of more than US$700 million in 2018, and paid taxes to the state of US$217 million, against US$198 million in 2017.
The company extracted 8.415 million carats of diamonds, which were sold at an average price per carat of US$110, up from US$89 per carat in 2017.
SMC’s shareholders are state-owned diamond company Endiama and Russian group Alrosa, with equal holdings of 41%, with the remaining 18% held by LL International Holding B.V.
Headquartered in the municipality of Saurimo, Lunda Sul province, the company is the fourth-largest producer of diamonds in the world and the Angolan leader with a share of 86.3% by volume and 60.3% by value.