Angola’s Catoca Diamond Mine Appoints Russian Managing Director

Angola’s Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, operator of the world’s fourth-largest diamond mine, appointed Russian Sergei Mitiukhin as its first foreign managing director.

Mitiukhin replaces Jose M.A. Ganga Junior, who has run Catoca since the company started prospecting in 1995, said Antonio Freitas, media director at state diamond company Endiama EP. Catoca, which produces about 75 percent of Angola’s gems, is 32.8 percent-owned by Endiama with OAO Alrosa, Russia’s largest diamond producer, holding the same stake.

“The previous director had been acting as such for 20 years but this is now a rotating position,” Freitas said by phone from the capital Luanda on Thursday. Each term lasts for three years and can be renewed, according to Freitas, who said two new deputy managing director positions will be filled by Angolans.

The southwest African country is the world’s fourth-largest diamond producer by value, according to the Kimberley Process, a gem verification group formed to halt the output of stones from conflict zones. Catoca’s sales were $594 million in 2013, according to an auditor’s report on the company website.

Since the annual general meeting on Feb. 25, “Ganga Junior is no longer managing director,” Luciano Canhaga, director of communications at Catoca, said by phone from Luanda on Thursday. He declined to comment further.

A venture between China and Angola’s state oil producer Sonangol EP owns 18 percent of Catoca and Odebrecht SA of Brazil has 16.4 percent.

Production Outlook

Production at Catoca in eastern Angola may expand by 6 percent this year, Benedito Paulo Manuel, manager of new business and strategic planning at the company, was cited as saying in the state-run Jornal de Angola on Feb. 27.

Crews last year excavated 15.5 million cubic meters of ore from the 1 kilometer-wide pit, dug on a kimberlite pipe where gems were formed under intense heat and pressure by an ancient volcano.

Catoca is also exploring for diamonds at other sites in Angola, including the Tchiuzo project that’s expected to begin production in two years, and in Zimbabwe.

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