Angola licences 19 000 mining firms
However, only 10 percent of the companies were likely to find diamonds that would enable them to go beyond the prospecting stage, chairman of the state-owned mining company Endiama, Arnaldo Calado, said.
Angola was also drafting changes in the law that would make it possible for Angolan citizens to trade polished diamonds, so that a domestic jewellery manufacturing industry could be developed.
The World Diamond Council also reported that Belgium and South Africa have agreed to hold a workshop next year on co-operation between their diamond industries, with businessmen and other leaders gathering to discuss the exchange of technology, training and information on legislation touching the diamond industry.
The two countries worked together at the just-concluded Kimberley Process Certification Scheme plenary session in Botswana, for which Ayanda Ntsaluba, director-general of the department of foreign affairs of South Africa, and Belgium's Ambassador Jan Grauls served as co-chairs. The process sought to end the trade in "blood diamonds" - gems mined to fund conflict in Africa.
Ghana was taken to task at the meeting for the alleged transit of illegally mined diamonds from Côte d'Ivoire and has since agreed to allow the council to inspect its diamond exports with immediate effect.
Other African countries with problems controlling their diamond trade included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Togo and Liberia, the last of which was still barred by the UN Security Council from exporting any rough diamonds until it had adequate controls in place. Conflict diamond have helped fuel civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. -Sapa
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