Angola kicks off mining licensing round

Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Oil, Diamantino Azevedo, officially opened the first of four roadshows in Luanda with technical presentations of five mining areas up for auction at the beginning of October.

The roadshow consists of four events highlighting five projects to investors. After Luanda, the next events will be held in Dubai on September 10, Beijing on September 16 and finally London on September 20.

Two of the projects are phosphate mines, one is an iron mine and the remaining two are Kimberlite diamond mines. The phosphate and iron projects are to be 100 percent privately executed, while the diamond projects will be partnerships with Angolan national diamond company Endiama.

Several new laws concerning private investment in Angola and the organization of the diamond sector were created to make investing in the mining sector interesting for foreign companies. For all five projects, assistance with full expatriation of dividends is guaranteed.

The first concession area for phosphates is located in the Cabinda province, in Cácata. Geological studies have already been done and point to 393 million metric tons of minerals with 9.2 percent of P2O5. The concession has excellent roads, water, electricity, and a nearby port and airport.

Lucunga, in the Zaire province, is the second of the phosphate concessions. A total of 1,539 exploratory drills were done in the 171 km2 area. Mineral resources are estimated at 215 million metric tons, with a 9.56 percent of P2O5 (JORC). A further 71 million tons with a 9.66 percent of P2O5 (JORC) exist in reserves. There is a major interest in relaunching the agriculture sector in Angola, so a vast market for phosphates exists locally.

Kassala-Kitungo, in the Cuanza Norte province, is the iron ore mining concession that was presented at the roadshow. It consists of a 7.750 km2 area with two main iron ore deposits on the southern margin of the Lucala river. The area is connected to Luanda by road and rail. Prospects based on 70 drills and 5,700 collected samples and analyzed by Golder Associates point to 217 million tons of mineral resources with a 30 percent iron content, boosted to 70 percent after initial treatment, with only two percent of SiO2.

The final two projects are Kimberlite diamond concessions in the Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces. Camafuca-Camazambo is one of the world’s largest kimberlite deposits by extension, 160ha in a 1,389 km2 concession area. An estimate by Southern Era points to a total of 23.240.000 carats of high-quality diamonds at a depth of up to 145 meters. The last of the technical presentations, the Tchitengo diamond concession, was analyzed by BHP Billiton from 2007 to 2011 and indicates a total of 27.300.450 carats of diamonds at a rate of 0,438 carats per ton.

This roadshow and licensing round highlights dramatic changes in economic politics by the government of President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço and will be followed very shortly by an oil block licensing round.