A delegation of Angolan officials, led by their ambassador to Botswana, Beatriz Antónia Manuel de Morais, on Tuesday toured Safdico Botswana where diamonds from that country’s Lulo Mine are now being polished.
Under a recently inked deal, Safdico has secured the rights to cut and polish up to 60% of Lulo Mine’s annual production. The deal is significant as it marks the first time a diamond cutting and trading firm outside the De Beers group, secures supply from outside the country.
Angola, viewed as one of Africa’s rising locations for diamond exploration, only recently allowed its mines to find their own markets for polishing and trading and the Safdico deal underlines Botswana’s push to be the centre of diamond activities in Africa.
De Morais and her delegation inspected a sample of stones cut from a 128-carat stone processed at Safdico’s diamond factory along Airport Road. One of the smaller pieces, a 5.85 carat stone was said to carry a valuation of up to $7,000.
The ambassador told BusinessWeek that diamonds were an important avenue of diversification for the Angolan economy, away from oil revenues.
“Angola is looking for investors to contribute to economic diversification and we are open for partners such as Safdico, Botswana and others from across the globe,” she said.
“Mining and diamonds in particular have been identified as one of the sectors we can use to diversify from oil.
“Angola is quite rich in natural resources such as gold, nickel and others and we welcome investment partners.”
For Lulo Mine, owned by Lucapa Diamonds, the Safdico deal means added value to the rough diamonds and greater revenues. Lulo Mine is targeting the production of 60,000 carats this year and in the four years since its commissioning, has distinguished itself for unearthing large stones, with 14 +100 carat diamonds produced to date.
“We are excited with this deal as it is aligned to Safdico’s visionary plans to become a key catalyst of the next growth phase of the diamond industry downstream activities,” Safdico international resident director, Rutang Moses said.