The talks on whether De Beers will return to Angola have stalled, Reuters reports.
De Beers halted operations in May 2001 after a dispute with the government but then agreed to hold lengthy talks for a new deal. However, now De Beers is saying “the ball is in the government’s court … as to when, where and how it wishes to resume negotiations.” Confidentiality clauses between De Beers and state diamond company prevented either side from discussing the negotiations in detail.
Among the issues on the table was a proposed joint venture in which Endiama would receive exploration and mining rights for Angolan diamonds that would then be marketed worldwide through De Beers.
Since De Beers left Angola, the country’s diamonds have been marketed by state-controlled monopoly Ascorp, part-owned by Israel’s Lev Leviev, which some have criticized for selling below the going rate.
Last month, the government approved a plan to end Ascorp’s four-year monopoly and build a new cutting factory at a cost of more than $3 million to add value to the local industry.
Foreign mining companies are looking at Angola after 27 years of civil war ended last year with the combat death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.