Major increase in import and consumption taxes in Angola

Angola steeply increases consumption and import taxes.

With a widening fiscal deficit generated by crashing oil prices, the country’s main export by far, the Angolan Government introduced large hikes in the values of the Consumption Tax Regulation and the General Customs Tariff. This decision will have a negative effect on price levels, already under pressure due to the falling kwanza (37% last year – official rate).

Yes, if want to enjoy a drink (or the increasingly politically incorrect smoke) in the tropical nights of Luanda you will have to expend a muck larger amount of the local currency. That will also apply, although with smaller hikes, to gasoline (5%), diesel (2%), lubricant oils (2%) and propane gas (2%).

Life is not getting easier.

Imports Consumption Tax new values (examples):

Juice and water: 40% (10% before)
Beers: 60% (20% before)
Alcoholic beverages: 70% (30%before)
Tobacco: 80% (30% before)

You may read the complete law text here (in Portuguese).

Angolan currency looses value (- 37%) in the last year

The Angolan currency (Kwanza- Kz) lost 37% of its value (in USD) as a result of last year’s crude oil price crash. A carbon-dependent economy (with oil and diamonds being, by far, the country’s largest exports), Angola was hard hit by the evolution of oil prices in the international markets.

One USD was worth Kz 135,968 – average oficial interbank exchange rate in the period of 14 to 16 September 2015, compared to Kz 99 around one year ago. The informal (street) exchange rate reaches values over Kz 200 – Agência Lusa values cited here.

The impact in daily life is felt through increased inflation. International money transfers have also been affected.

In an ironical twist, with crashing international oil prices resulting in plummeting fiscal income, the Angolan Government was forced to cancel fuel subsidies, increasing gas prices at the pumps. In addition to escalating transportation costs, increasing fuel prices are especially grievous as virtually any house in Angola depends on generators for electricity, at least as a (frequently needed) backup to the public grid (unavailable in many regions or unreliable at best). This counter-intuitive effect compounded the inflation generated by the deteriorated exchange rate.

You may read more on this subject in this article (Portuguese).

Stornoway Announces Updated Renard Mineral Resource Estimate – September 2015

Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX:SWY) announces an update to the Renard Diamond Project Mineral Resource estimate – LONGUEUIL, Quebec, Sept. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE).

Highlights

  • A 16% increase in the Indicated Mineral Resources of Renard 2 to 21.6 million carats achieved through the conversion of Inferred Mineral Resources to 700 meters depth.
  • An 11% increase in the total Indicated Mineral Resources of the project (inclusive of the Mineral Reserve) to 30.2 million carats
  • New Inferred Mineral Resources at Renard 2 defined to 850 meters depth.
  • The inclusion of over 4 million tonnes of lower grade Renard 2 Country Rock Breccia (“CRB”) material in the Indicated Mineral Resource category for the first time.
  • Substantial new exploration potential at Renard 2 and Renard 3 identified to 1,250 meters depth, where both kimberlites are interpreted to retain sizeable widths and remain open.
  • Updated mine plan now under development to incorporate increased Indicated Mineral Resources.

Table 1

Support materials that illustrate the updated Renard Mineral Resource Estimate can be found on Stornoway’s website at www.stornowaydiamonds.com/English/our-business/renard-project/technical-resources/default.aspx. Stornoway will file a Technical Report for the Renard Diamond Project under National Instrument (“NI”) 43-101 – Standards for Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) within 45 days of this release.

To read the full original press release visit the Stornoway web site at: Stornoway Announces Updated Renard Mineral Resource Estimate.

THE DIAMOND INSIGHT REPORT – DE BEERS 2015

The Diamond Insight Report 2015 has just been released by De Beers, with a positive starting note.

Do you agree? In its Foreword, the report starts by saying that:

The launch of The Diamond Insight Report 2014 opened up the diamond industry to a wider audience and identified trends and opportunities for the industry to fulfil its growth potential.

One of the areas highlighted in last year’s report was how the diamond sector is influenced by seasonal demand patterns and industry cycles. And, to some extent, this effect can be seen when comparing performance in 2014 with what we have seen so far in 2015.

Strong consumer sales of diamond jewellery over the end of year holiday season in 2013 led to strong pipeline restocking demand at the start of 2014 and the positive demand environment continued through most of the year.

Consumer demand reached a record high, rough diamond demand was strong and this set the industry up for a positive year.

The report is full of information, well written and designed. It’s always worth reading.

Two 50+ ct stones recovered at the Lulo project

Figure 1

57.76 ct type ii diamond recovered from Mining Block 8

Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. (ASX:LOM) announced the recovery of two 50+ ct diamonds in the Lulo diamond project. The press release highlights:

  • Diamonds weighing 57.76 carats and 50.08 carats among 10 more large special diamonds (>10.8 carats each) recovered from Mining Block 8 at Lulo
  • A total of 24 large special diamonds recovered to date from Mining Block 8
  • Large diamonds being recovered from Mining Block 8 at an exceptional rate, with 22 specials recovered since 10 August 2015
  • Extensive pitting and sampling program underway to expand this prolific alluvial diamond field
  • Significant coarse indicator minerals recovered from Mining Block 8 continue to point to a close kimberlite source.

The press release gives no details on recovered grades, diamond price curves or about the smaller diamonds recovered. You may obtain the full press release here.

Figure 2

Type II diamonds (left): 57.76 ct, 17.97 ct and 12.99 ct. Type I diamonds (right): 50.08 ct, 18.83 ct, 13.83 ct and 11.12 ct. All diamonds from Mining Block 8.


Characterization, Modeling, Monitoring, and Remediation of Fractured Rock (2015)

21742-0309373727-450A new publication by the NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS (pre-publication version just released).
From the book’s summary:

Fractured rock is the host or foundation for innumerable engineered structures related to energy, water, waste, and transportation. Characterizing, modeling, and monitoring fractured rock sites is critical to the functioning of those infrastructure, as well as to optimizing resource recovery and contaminant management. Fractured rock is defined in this report as a mass of rock matrix broken up by fractures. That rock may be crystalline with nominal porosity (i.e., many igneous rocks), or granular with varying amounts of cementation or porosity (i.e., sedimentary rocks)

This report examines new developments, knowledge, and approaches to engineering at fractured rock sites since publication of the 1996 National Research Council report Rock Fractures and Fluid Flow: Contemporary Understanding and Fluid Flow. Fundamental understanding of the physical nature of fractured rock has changed little since 1996, but many new characterization tools have been developed, and there is now greater appreciation for the importance of chemical and biological processes that can occur in the fractured rock environment. Findings in this report can be applied to all types of engineered infrastructure and engineered in situ processes, but especially to engineered repositories for buried or stored waste and to fractured rock sites that have been contaminated as a result of past disposal or other practices. Impacts from artificially induced fractures to enhance hydrocarbon recovery (i.e., hydraulic fracturing) are not part of this report.

Novo número da REM – Revista da Escola de Minas

Rem: Revista Escola de Minas é uma das primeiras revistas técnicas sobre mineração e metalurgia da América do Sul. Fundada em Janeiro de 1936 pelos estudantes da Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto, especializou-se desde essa altura na publicação de artigos técnicos e científicos sobre Engenharia de Minas, Civil, Geológica, Metalúrgica e e Materiais.

A REM lançou o terceiro número deste ano. Pode lê-lo através da página www.rem.com.br ou diretamente em http://www.rem.com.br/index.php/all-magazines/132-revista-escola-de-minas-v-68-n-3.

Dois dos artigos chamaram a minha atenção:

The kimberley process certification system – KPCS and diamond production changes in selected African countries and Brazil, por Eduardo Gomes dos Santos. Estou interessado no Processo de Kimberley (e diretamente envolvido na sua implementação em Portugal); as conclusões deste artigo são muito interessantes (mas isso é tema para um comentário mais desenvolvido).

Processes for phosphorus removal from iron ore – a review, por Antônio Clareti Pereira, Rísia Magriotis Papini. O meu interesse neste caso foi criado pelas características do minério do jazigo de ferro de Moncorvo, cuja exploração é condicionada pelo seu teor de fósforo.