De Beers and Angola Negotiate Diamond Rights

October 18, 2000

De Beers and Angola Negotiate Diamond Rights

De Beers is negotiating a global deal with the Angolan government to re-establish rights to Angola's diamonds and secure mining and marketing rights for new diamond deposits discovered by De Beers in Angola, the Financial Times reports. Both groups are hoping for an agreement as soon as possible.

De Beers bought stones from Angola until last year when it began facing a consumer campaign against conflict diamonds. Relations between De Beers and Angola became strained, and in February Angola gave all marketing rights for its diamonds to Ascorp, a joint venture between the state diamond company, Sodiam, and Israeli-Russian businessman Lev Leviev.

According to the Financial Times, miners in Angola have complained about Ascorp giving low prices, and Ascorp has yet to show it stops Unita's conflict diamonds from leaking into official channels.

De Beers is negotiating the marketing deal with Sodiam rather than Ascorp, and a deal would result in Angola's first official sales outside Ascorp since February, the Financial Times reports. According to De Beers officials, the company has found over 50 new kimberlite sites since 1998, and evaluating and mining the sites depend on reaching a global deal with Angola.

- by Julia M. Duncan