Businessman Valdomiro Minoru Dondo is betting strongly on Angola’s mining sector after striking gold in two fields in the country’s northern province of Cabinda.
VMD Group, the holding company that bears his initials, invested millions of dollars in gold exploration since it acquired two licenses from the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in 2018, and it already has something to show for it.
Samples extracted from 800 holes were analyzed in a Namibian lab, and the results confirmed the viability and potential of the two fields after trial production yielded 45kgs of gold, Minoru Dondo says. With the success of the alluvial exploitation and estimates of overall reserves, the businessman will seek partners for the most capital-intensive, heavy-equipment development of the primary deposits of the mineral. That phase requires an investment of up to 400 million dollars.
“Partners who have the technology and are interested in investing in Angola,” he says.
His other mining interests include exploration for diamonds in the central province of Bie and a 3,000 square kilometers concession for exploration of rare earth elements in the Huambo province, for which VMD Group’s mining arm holds licenses. According to the American Geosciences Institute, rare earth elements, also known as REE, are set of 17 metallic elements that are an essential part of many high-tech devices.
The expanding interests of the VMD Group will also include oil. In July, his company was one of the dozens of companies, mostly local, that bid for oil exploration license for the onshore field of Lower Congo Basin.
“We will need oil for the foreseeable future, and it will continue to be an integral part of the Angola economy” he says. He believes the need for oil will go on for more decades to come despite the trend of energy transition whereby climate change and other environmental groups urge crude producers to slow down exploration.
Dondo, who arrived in Angola over 35 years ago from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has other business interests in the country, which include urban transports, healthcare, banking, information and technology, and in the past three decades he has invested $500 millions in the country. His Macon Transport company has the country’s largest bus fleet and has recently expanded its routes to neighboring Namibia and Democratic Republic of Congo. He feels unfettered by the Covid-19 pandemic which severely hit his business, especially the real estate and transports.
“We have been reprograming our investments”, Dondo says. “The reality in Angola now much different now from three years ago.”
But he already looks positive to the new challenges, past the pandemic. “I see the curve turning by December,” he says. “The Angolan government has carried out tough reforms following the IMF program, which will secure the economic environment and stability for future growth.”