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De Beers to re-enter Angola after four years

Diamond giant De Beers will re-enter Angola, the world's fifth biggest diamond producer, after sealing a deal with Angolan state gem firm Endiama to form a joint venture, the companies said on Friday.

De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer, plans to build on "significant discoveries" made during previous exploration from 1996 to 2000, Richard Napier, head of new business, told Reuters.

"It's certainly our desire to move very quickly to try to bring something to discovery as soon as we possibly can," he said.

De Beers left the country in 2001 following the breakdown of an agreement with Endiama, but the two sides reached a settlement at the end of last year following arbitration, creating the foundation for the current deal to be signed.

De Beers, 45 percent owned by mining conglomerate Anglo American Plc, spent $32 million during its previous exploration programme and the firm would probably spend more than that in a shorter period this time, Napier said.

"It'll probably be over shorter time periods, because the work we will be doing will include significant drilling programmes over some of the kimberlites that were brought to discovery during that earlier programme," he said. Kimberlites are a common host rock for diamonds.

Read the rest of the story at http://www.reuters.co.za/locales/c_newsArticle.jsp?type=businessNews&localeKey=en_ZA&storyID=8629080

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