In Angola, the government of President Agostinho Neto hopes to produce at least three million carats of diamonds -- worth up to an estimated 600 million dollars -- in 1979.
SV PAN (From inside car) miners' huts
SV Miner driving van
SVs Van driving over dam towards mining area (two shots)
SV Armed troops in back of jeep
GV Mine area and buildings PAN TO conveyor belt carrying mined material (two shots)
SV Armed soldier beside conveyor belt (two shots)
SV PAN of dumper truck in motion
GV PAN Overhead cable machinery in operation (six shots)
SVs Troops guarding mining machinery (three shots)
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Background: In Angola, the government of President Agostinho Neto hopes to produce at least three million carats of diamonds -- worth up to an estimated 600 million dollars -- in 1979.
SYNOPSIS: These are miners' huts at Angola's major diamond mines at Dundo, in the country's north-eastern corner, only seven kilometres (4.3 miles) from the Zaire border. There are twelve thousand workers, most of them from the Lunda tribe, which is also strong in the Shaba province of Zaire. The mines are close to the main road linking Dundo and Tshikapa in Zaire. It was along this route in March last year that exiled Zairian guerrilla rebels moved into Shaba and began fighting government troops. Security here is always heavy.
The gems come from alluvial deposits left by flood waters. The mines are run by Diamang, which once had a near-monopoly. But it gave up its concession, and now works as an operator for President Neto's Marxist government. About three-quarters of production is gem stones and, when the mines were working near-normally a few years ago, angola was exporting between five and eight percent of the world's diamond production. In 1975, output plunged because white technicians withdrew from the country, the African work force was cut back and smuggling increased.
The shortage of technical know-how has helped push current production to only forty percent of the level before independence in 1975. But even this figure is twice as high as the one quoted for 1976, when it was said to be down to just one-fifth of the level before the first war of liberation in 1974.
Diamang's private police force provides part of the security. Latest figures showed that the Angolan state held just under sixty-one percent of Diamang. Almost twenty-two percent was in the hands of Swiss and United States banks, plus the De Beers and Guggenheim corporations. The Belgian bank, Societe Generale, and SIBEKA, held the remaining seventeen-plus percent. Diamonds, with petroleum and iron, combine to make Angola potentially one of the richest countries in Africa.