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Alrosa, Catoca diamond JV in Angola to start trial mining in mid-2020

Trial mining at the Luaxe diamond deposit in Angola, a joint venture between Russia's PJSC Alrosa and state miner Sociedade Mineira de Catoca Lda., may begin in mid-2020, Reuters reported Dec. 11.

The consortium said the deposit could produce 1 million carats of diamonds, worth US$90 million, in 2020, according to the newswire. Catoca holds a 50.5% stake in the operation.

Catoca has spent about US$200 million on studies of the deposit, which may be the largest discovery in 60 years, the company said. A pre-feasibility study for Luaxe is pending, with the scale of operations hinged on the project's economic potential and global demand for diamonds.

Alrosa estimated that global diamond production will fall to 139 million carats in 2023 from 151 million carats in 2017.

Alrosa will spend US$9 million on exploration in Angola from 2020 to 2022 and US$12 million in Zimbabwe, Reuters added, citing Vladimir Marchenko, the company's deputy CEO in charge of its African operations.