Angola, the world’s fifth largest producer of diamonds, seeks to make the sector more lucrative for producers and the state by planning to hold its first diamond auction.
Around 35 companies will be invited to bid for seven stones, which were selected for their rare quality and size. They were produced by the Lulo project operated by Australia-listed Lucapa in the northeastern province of Lunda Norte.
Minister of Mineral Resources, Diamantino Azevedo said “it’s our conviction that the final result of this auction will show to our society and the wider world our total commitment to transparency and innovation in the commercialization of diamonds in Angola”.
To garner the highest price, Azevedo said the auction will use a sealed system by which interested parties submit their offers electronically without knowing what others have bid.
The new system, part of wider reforms in the commercialization of diamonds in Angola, has been welcomed by producers who long complained they were not getting fair value for their stones. Previously, producers were forced to sell below the international price level because they had to participate in an opaque government marketing system and sell to buyers selected by the Angolan state.
As part of an attempt to diversify its economy away from a dependence on oil, the country has vowed to increase diamond production and per carat value, aiming to become a top 3 producer by 2021.