In 2015, Angola produced a record 8,837,414 million carats of diamonds, generating revenue of over US$1.1 billion, according to figures provided by the country’s Geology and Mining Minister Francisco Queiros. While the level of diamond production is regarded as setting a record, especially considering the challenging period in the sector due to low pricing in the international market, the revenue from diamond sales was down compared to revenue from 2014, when diamond sales revenue reached US$1,308,137,899 on production of 8,750,892 carats of diamonds.
In 2015, the geology and mining ministry awarded six licenses for diamond production. “We are pleased, because we have reached a very good production target,” said Queiros, who says that the country requires billions of dollars to put into operations a number of mining projects, including a diamond project in Lunda Sul. Of the diamonds produced by the country, the vast majority were industrial diamonds.
Although there are some reports of diamonds being exported from Angola by the Portuguese as early as the eighteenth century, modern diamond mining began in 1912, when the gems were discovered in a stream in the Lunda region in the northeast. In 1917 Diamang was granted the concession for diamond mining and prospecting, which it held until independence.
Control over the company was obtained by the government in 1977. In April 1979, a general law on mining activities (Law 5/79) was enacted and gave the state the exclusive right to prospect for and exploit minerals. Accordingly, a state diamond-mining enterprise, the National Diamond Company (Emprêsa Nacional de Diamantes–Endiama), was founded in 1981 and acquired the government’s 77% share in Diamang.