23 August 2013

Angola: Mozambique Wants Diamond Cooperation With Angola

Maputo — The Mozambican government is interesting in learning from the vast experience of Angola in diamond mining, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, said on Thursday.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference at the end of a visit by the Angolan Minister of Geology and Mines, Manuel Queiroz, Bias said that there are diamonds in Mozambique but so far little is known about their quality. Hence the Mozambican government's interest is using Angolan knowledge to ascertain exactly where diamonds could be found and in what quantities.

Bias added that the government also wants to step up cooperation between public companies of the two countries in the diamond mining area.

The visit by Queiroz, she said, was an opportunity to review progress since the two countries signed a cooperation agreement in mining and geology in 2007.

The area in which Angola is most developed, she continued, is the training of skilled labour in mining, and Mozambique wishes to take advantage of this knowledge.

“By the end of this year, our public companies must reach an agreement on how to advance with joint geological work”, Bias stressed. “We have a Mozambican team which will visit Angola in the coming months to discuss the Kimberley process with the Angolan institutions”.

Bias was referring to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, set up by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, to prevent “conflict (or blood) diamonds” from entering the international diamond market. Under the scheme, all diamond exports should be accompanied by a Kimberly Process certificate declaring that no diamonds are imported from or exported to countries that are not members of the scheme. All countries that are members of the Kimberley process must ensure that no diamonds originating in their subsoil are used to finance groups seeking to overthrow UN-recognised governments.

Bias noted that the geological survey carried out eight years ago in Mozambique had been a fruitful activity, and the experience gathered will be passed on to the Angolans.

For his part, Queiroz said it was time to move from words to practice, and he promised to do everything he could to turn the page in the relations between the two countries in the geology and mining field.

Mozambique's successes in its geological survey and in attracting foreign investments are lessons from which Angola hopes to learn, he said.

Queiroz also wanted to involve the business sector. The two countries had cooperated in the political and diplomatic spheres for a long time, but now it was time to think more economically and commercially about geology and mining.

“There is a great potential to exploit. We share this vision and we need to take a leap forward”, he said.

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