Angolan mining group Sociedade Mineira de Catoca (Catoca) currently produces 75% of the country’s diamonds, highlighted company CFO António Galiano Celestino earlier this month. He was speaking in the city of Saurimo, the capital of Lunda Sul province. The Catoca mine, an openpit operation which exploits the world’s fourth-biggest kimberlite, is located not far from Saurimo.
The Macauhub news agency reported that he had also pointed out that, with Angolan independence in 1975 and the achievement of lasting peace in 2002, the country had become one of the key areas for diamond exploration, particularly for the development of openpit mines. The company was a leader in these activities and had majority stakes in concessions at Luemba, Gango, Quitúbia, Luangue, Vulege, Tcháfua and Luaxe.
Catoca’s business is prospecting, exploring, mining and commercialising diamonds. Its shareholders are the State-owned National Diamond Company of Angola (better known as Endiama), Alrosa of Russia, LLV (domiciled in China) and Odebrecht, of Brazil. Endiama and Alrosa each hold 32.8% of Catoca, LLV 18% and Odebrecht 16.4%. Since March last year, the company has been headed by a Russian, Sergei Mitiukhin, who replaced the first MD, Angolan José MA Ganga Júnior, who had held the post for 20 years.
The development of the Catoca mine began nearly 22 years ago, when the first technical team arrived on the site in January 1995. Limited production started in 1997. In 2015, diamond sales brought the company an income of $582 016 000. Other income amounted to $12 175 000, giving total gross revenues of $594 191 000. Removing all costs, amortisations and operational losses, the result was a net income of $116 289 000, a decline, compared with 2014, when the company’s net income was $126 476 000.
Currently, Catoca’s life-of-mine is expected to be another 18 years, up to 2034, assuming a depth limit of 600 m for its operations. The Kimberlite occupies an area of 64 ha. The company generally employs Russian technology to recover the diamonds.