Angolan mining company Sociedade Mineira da Catoca, the fourth largest producer of diamonds in the world and the largest in Angola, has appointed Benedito Paulo Manuel as its new chief executive. He replaces Sergei Amelin, a Russian, who after three years of office has made his post available "to take on new challenges." Manuel said Catoca would in the next five years focus on improving operational efficiency to boost diamond output and tax contribution. Catoca currently produces over 86% of all Angolan diamonds by volume and 60% by value. Manuel noted the beginning of the exploration of the Luaxe mine, about 25 kilometres from Catoca, as one of the company’s main challenges following geological prospecting and a geophysical survey started in 2008.
The new director-general, as quoted by the Angop news agency, called for jobs to be guaranteed, improving social conditions of workers and “wages capable of meeting their needs.” The company expects to produce 7 million carats this year as compared to 7.4 million carats in 2017. The projected drop in output has been attributed to greater focus on the launch of the Luaxe mining project, owned by Endiama and ALROSA. Luaxe was projected to record an annual output of between 8 million carats and 10 million carats. Catoca’s shareholders include Endiama and Russian group ALROSA holding equal stakes of 41 percent, with the remaining 18 percent held by LL International Holding B.V.