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Angola sees no further Opec cuts and is looking to become a gold producer

Angola sees no further oil cartel Opec cuts in 2018 and Africa’s number two crude exporter hopes to join the ranks of gold producers next year as it strives to diversify an economy long based on oil and diamonds, its minerals and petroleum minister said on Tuesday.

Angola, where oil wealth has failed to translate into wider prosperity, has a reputation for graft on a grand scale, but President João Lourenço, who took power in September, is looking to win credibility with international investors.

Speaking to Reuters at the annual Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town, minerals and oil minister Diamantino Azevedo said the country was serious about widening its commodities mix.

“We are just producing diamonds, and stuff like marble and granite at the moment. We are expecting to start gold production soon, we expect to have two or three gold mines operating next year, but at a small scale,” he said.

Speaking after presentations on mining opportunities in Angola, Azevedo said there were 10 exploration projects in the country focused on gold involving junior mining companies, which typically take the prospecting lead in new frontiers. He did not name them.

“We want to promote the mining sector beyond diamonds … We have had good meetings here with the major mining companies,” he said, adding there were also exploration opportunities for iron ore and copper. Angola borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, Africa’s top copper producers.

Much of Angola remains unexplored, not least because the former Portuguese colony was embroiled in a civil war from its birth in 1975 until 2002. Critics have also said the elite of the ruling MPLA party under former president José Eduardo dos Santos had little incentive to reduce the economy’s reliance on the opaque oil sector.

Angola is a member of Opec, and it must limit output in line with the group’s commitment to cut output by about 1.8-million barrels per day (bpd) as part of a deal with Russia and others. “We will not go above our Opec quotas,” Azevedo said, adding that he did not see Opec imposing any deeper cuts this year.

Angola produces just more than 1.6-million bpd, providing it with more than 90% of its export revenue.

Source: Business Day

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