1 Feb 2024 10:35

Alrosa, Angola continuing negotiations on Catoca

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) - Russian diamond miner Alrosa and the Angolan authorities are continuing negotiations with the goal of "ensuring the progressive development of local assets," which is hampered by sanctions, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told reporters.

"Naturally, Alrosa, as a sanctioned company, will have a number of restrictions in terms of the development of such local assets, and this concerns the Angolan side," Moiseyev said.

Angolan publication Expansao reported at the end of January that Angola is forcing Alrosa to exit the Catoca diamond mine (Sociedade Mineira de Catoca), in which the Russian company owns a 41% stake, and without compensation.

"Indeed, there was some sort of not very clear commotion. We do, indeed, have a certain problematic issue in relations with the government of Angola, but they are absolutely in a context of negotiations. Fairly active negotiations are now being held there on how to best solve these issues," Moiseyev said.

Asked about the rough diamond market in general, he said the market has been looking "fairly sad" for the past six months. India has even imposed a two-month embargo on rough diamond purchases in order to normalize inventories amid weak demand on the jewelry market.

"Therefore, the market is, of course, fairly difficult at the moment, but we're looking at its condition altogether constructively. That is, we of course don't expect such a collapse like there was in the first half of 2020," Moiseyev said.

Inventories at Alrosa remain at an acceptable level, he said. "I would even say that, in a historical context, even a fairly average level. I would just recall that in 2020 they sold everything," Moiseyev said.