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National diamond miner makes plans for greater impact

Article - April 3, 2014
State-owned Endiama is developing Angola's diamond industry by not only increasing profitability through efficiency, but also improving its social and environmental impact
Transforming the diamond market into a viable and ethical industry has become a key concern for Angola as it cements its position as a global producer and supplier. Spearheading this drive has been the stated-owned Empresa Nacional de Diamantes de Angola, better known as Endiama. Since its inception, the firm has become a leading player in the Angolan diamond industry and is now looking to improve not just the efficiency and profitability of its operation, but also its social impact.
As Africa’s second biggest producer of diamonds, Angola has developed into more than simply another diamond producing nation. The African country is the world’s fifth highest diamond producer in terms of value, and Endiama alone produced 8.3 million carats in 2012. Much of that success has been thanks to the country’s development plan, aptly named Angola 2025, which is improving transport networks and allowing companies to cut operational costs and ramp up efficiency. 
Endiama’s President and CEO Carlos Sumbula says that such developments have also enabled his firm to invest in the local population’s skills.
“In line with the government’s strategy for this industry, we have been implementing measures aimed at taking advantage of all segments involved in the diamond chain, but primarily providing human capital with technical and professional skills, as they are our most important asset,” he says.
Investing in equipment and infrastructure, as well as people, has enabled Endiama to develop its business rapidly while improving working conditions for thousands of employees. Mr Sumbula, who says that the original ideas behind the Kimberley Process Certificate Scheme were first thought up in Angola by President dos Santos, has also overseen initiatives to improve employees’ wellbeing. 
The Fundação Brilhante assists with education, while the company’s Clínica Sagrada Esperança operates across the country to provide healthcare services. Endiama’s social efforts even extend to the Grupo Desportivo Sagrada Esperança, providing opportunities to play sport. 
Mr Sumbula admits however that his firm, and the wider diamond industry, must continue to develop, not least because only around 40% of the country’s 1,246,700km2 landmass has been prospected. 
The government’s National Geology Map, entitled Planageo, intends to outline the country’s resources and Endiama, in tandem with fellow producer Alrosa, is contributing to its completion. 
The firm is also working with an array of smaller operators to provide permits to small-scale miners, who can sell their stones on to Endiama’s subsidiary Sodiam.
“Both the challenge and the potential of the Angolan diamond industry are huge and the path is still long,” Mr Sumbula says, adding that working with both local and international firms will be vital to continue growth. 
With those agreements in place, he is confident that the country will achieve its potential to become a global player and influencer in the world’s diamond industry.