The Angolan government hopes that the return of licenses to more than 200 companies and semi-industrial diamond mining cooperatives in seven provinces of Angola will allow for the creation of at least 20,000 jobs, AndrÃ Buta , the national director of Mineral Resources said.
Buta, who spoke at the end of the delivery of 31 of the 81 licenses for semi-industrial exploration planned for Lunda Norte, said the aim of re-launching this process in Lunda Sul, Malanje, Kwanza Norte, Kwanza Sul and UÃge provinces, was to reduce the youth unemployment rate.
The ceremony was expected to hand over 41 licenses, and ten companies will receive them as soon as they meet all the requirements of the law, which should happen within 15 days.
The in total 241 semi-industrial diamond mining companies and cooperatives were unable to carry on operating because their licenses were revoked under "Operation Transparency" launched by the Angolan government to combat diamond trafficking and illegal immigration, and in the case of Lunda Norte more than 400,000 foreigners were deported.
Buta warned those responsible for the 31 companies that if foreigners are found in their exploration areas the licenses now returned to them will be revoked again, and recommended that the recruitment of the workforce should focus on the youth of the neighbouring communities.
The security of the exploration areas is the responsibility of the cooperatives, Buta said, pointing out that the minimum number of workers in a semi-industrial mine is 30 people, including specialised foreign labour with official immigration status.
In addition to recalling that the Angolan diamond sales company, Sodiam, is the only channel through which to sell the product of semi-industrial mines, the national director of Mineral Resources said that companies and cooperatives have to provide basic social services to the resident populations of concession areas.