Operations in major Angolan mines were reduced to essential services following the declaration of a State of Emergency in the country a month ago, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On 24 April 2020, a new Presidential Decree amended certain restrictions to allow essential industries to return 50% of their employees to the workplace. Among the first to announce a return of operations, in a scaled manner, is Lulo diamond mine.
According to a statement by Lucapa Diamond Company Limited and its partners in Lulo mine – Empresa Nacional de Diamantes E.P. (“Endiama”) and Rosas & Petalas – scaled mining operations are to resume at the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola (Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo or “SML”), after 4 week of reduced activities.
“Lulo will resume mining and treatment operations on a 2 shift six-day week basis this week and will do so in compliance with advised health measures to ensure the safety of SML’s employees and contractors. Mining operations will be scaled to exceed 50% of nameplate capacity initially which will position the company to ramp up to full capacity once restrictions are lifted completely”, the company adds.
Also suspended has been the activity of the country´s major diamond mine, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, that laid off most of its workers at its new concessions, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, according to a company statement issued after the State of Emergency decree.
Located in the province of Luanda Sul, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca has the fourth largest mine in the world, which is an open-pit mine and accounts for more than 75% of the diamonds produced in Angola.
The minister of Finance, Vera Daves, announced at the end of last week that the government had decided to work with a benchmark price of US$100.3 per carat, for production and sale of diamonds on the international market.
The previous benchmark price was US$162 per carat.