De Beers said it’s confident of finding a gem deposit in Angola that will allow it to more than recoup the $250 million it has spent on exploration, Bloomberg reported.
The country is a “high priority” for De Beers, which has allocated a $30 million annual prospecting budget that’s unlikely to diminish soon, Pedro Lago de Carvalho, De Beers’s business manager in the country, said in a January 16 interview.
De Beers has found diamonds in a 3,000 square-kilometer concession near Lucapa in the Lunda North province. The site is the only remaining concession out of five De Beers has explored in the country since 2005, Lago de Carvalho said.
De Beers pulled out of Angola in 2001 after losing the right to sell more than $800 million of gems. It went through three arbitration rounds with Endiama EP, the state diamond company, before returning in 2005, said the Bloomberg report.
The results of evaluation studies of three ore bodies known as kimberlites at Mulepe, about 800 kilometers east of Luanda, are expected in about two months, and will be followed by meetings with Endiama to decide how to proceed, Lago de Carvalho said.
De Beers has a 49% share in the Mulepe concession, with Endiama holding the rest, according to an exploration deal signed before a new mining law enacted in late 2011.