Bloomberg News

Portugal Holds Talks With Angola to Resolve Diamond-Mine Dispute

December 12, 2011

    Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Sociedade Portuguesa de Empreendimentos, the Portuguese state investor facing a diamond- mine shutdown in Angola, said it’s in talks with authorities in the African country to resolve a funding dispute.

The investor, known as SPE, is seeking a solution to the impasse over the Lucapa joint venture, a company official said in a telephone interview from Lisbon on Dec. 9, declining to be identified because the talks are confidential.

Endiama EP, Angola’s state-run diamond company, announced plans last month to shut the Lucapa venture, saying its Portuguese partner failed to honor funding obligations. Endiama holds 51 percent of the Lucapa mine, which halted production at the beginning of 2009. SPE holds the rest.

An audit by Deloitte LLP showed the venture was “highly indebted” and owed money to banks, Angola’s government, suppliers and workers, Endiama said in a Dec. 6 statement. That day, Endiama awarded exploration rights at Lucapa to Kassypal- Sociedade Mineira, a unit of Angolan company Grupo Antonio Mosquito, replacing SPE.     Angola produced $976 million of diamonds in 2010, according to data from the Kimberley Process, an organization that works to prevent the sale of conflict diamonds.

--Editors: Amanda Jordan, Ana Monteiro

To contact the reporter on this story: Candido Mendes in Luanda at cmendes6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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