Lucapa predicts premium from Angola reforms

Joshua Freedman

Angola is set to host its first diamond sale under new rules designed to improve transparency and prices. 
Sodiam, a state-owned diamond-marketing company, will this month offer seven large stones from Lucapa Diamond Company’s Lulo mine, including a 46-carat pink and six white diamonds ranging from 43 to 114 carats.

The Angolan government approved reforms last year that will open sales to a wider range of buyers, Lucapa CEO Stephen Wetherall explained to Rapaport News Monday. While previously miners had to sell their diamonds to a list of buyers Sodiam selected, the new regulations allow companies such as Lucapa to offer 60% of their production to clients of their choice.

By needing to sell to one of [Sodiam’s] buyers, eventually there was no competition on the product itself, and therefore the prices were not [in line with the] market,” Wetherall said. Rough is likely to fetch “considerably more” under the new system, the executive noted.

Catoca, the country’s largest diamond mine, lost $464 million over six years because of the unfavorable marketing rules, Reuters reported in June, citing an internal Catoca document.

Between 20 and 30 diamond companies from New York, Antwerp, Israel, Hong Kong and other locations will attend the tender in Luanda, the Angolan capital, which ends January 31. They will bid online for the goods, ensuring the sale meets the industry’s transparency standards, Wetherall said.

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Source Rapaport