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China's diamond demand sparkles

(China Daily)

14:46, November 09, 2011

A diamond shopping mall in Beijing. The Shanghai Diamond Exchange said that transactions in the first nine months reached 12,038.71 carats, worth $3 billion, representing a year-on-year rise of 58.4 percent. (Source: China Daily/Pu Feng)

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The fifth-largest diamond producer in the world said on Tuesday that China's demand for the precious stones will steadily increase in spite of rising prices.

Empresa Nacional de Diamantes (Endiama), the national diamond company based in Angola, said that the Chinese market had accounted for up to 40 percent of its exports annually on average over the past three to five years.

The company is also seeking Chinese partners to help explore, produce and distribute the gemstones.

"We have already set up cooperative relationships with many Chinese companies and we want more," said Antonio Carlos Sumbula, chairman of Endiama. He declined to identify specific partners.

"The diamond mines in the area have a potential reserve (that could last) for 40 years," said Antonio Jose Freitas, marketing and communication manager. He said that it would cost about $500 million in total to explore those mines.

Sumbula said that although a civil war only ended about 10 years ago, the government could ensure a safe business environment for foreign investors in the diamond industry and would provide incentives, including tax breaks.

However, Chinese industry experts said that risks persist in overseas investment by mining companies.

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