By Samuel Pascoal
Close to 5,000 people are working in small-scale artisanal and semi-industrial diamond extraction cooperatives in Angola, but only 32 of them are legalised by the authorities, Endiama, the Angolan state-owned concessionaire in the diamond sector, has revealed.
According to data from the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Endiama, José Ganga Júnior, by the end of last year, the company had received 750 requests for legalisation of the diamond mining cooperatives.
"We realised the requests were exaggerated and we had no conditions to handle the processes correctly. So the exploration permits were quickly given verbally, without documentation,” Ganga Júnior said, adding that this occurred in the 2017 electoral period.
Meanwhile, the state-owned company responsible for the diamond sector, Angola's second largest export with over €1 billion of annual sales, says it has detected more than 400 application processes or cooperatives already in operation, which overlap and over impose on areas strictly granted for industrial exploitation or other cooperatives.
That is why, Ganga Júnior argued, it is necessary that these informal mining activities are properly controlled and Endiama is finalising the delivery for the final licensing of over 230 cooperatives to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum.
Since 2016, companies interested in negotiating diamonds extracted by small cooperatives are obliged to buy the equivalent of 3.5 million Euros a month.
The information is contained in the document with the new policy for the marketing of crude diamonds, approved by presidential decree at the end of August 2016, which maintains the commercialisation (of industrial and artisanal production) strictly through the public company, Sodiam.