Angolan diamond production is expected to rise by 25 percent and this year exceed 10 million carats following operations launched at two new exploration areas, Angola’s Geology and Mining minister said in London.
“This year we have an ambitious target of 9.5 million carats in industrial [production] and 550,000 carats in artisanal [production], which means we have to produce 10 million carats,” Francisco Queiroz told Portuguese news agency Lusa on the sidelines of the “Mining at the Top: Africa” conference that took lace from 24 to 16 June in the British capital.
According to the minister last year diamond production was slightly over 8 million carats.
Queiroz said he was confident that the 2014 target would be reached, and played down information in the bulletin of the Geology and Mining Ministry about a 24 percent drop in production from 785,000 carats in April to 600,000 carats in May.
“In April we had to carry out maintenance at the main diamond mine, which I Catoca. That stoppage of two mills naturally led to a drop in production, which has since returned,” he explained.
The Catoca mine, he said, accounted for 85 to 87 percent of diamond production in Angola.
Queiroz added that the latest figures pointed to industrial production having reached a third off the annual target and artisanal production was close to 60 percent of its yearly target, suggesting that the annual target may be exceeded. (mchb/AO)