ANGOLA - Energy & Mining
Benedito Paulo is CEO of Catoca.
Benedito Paulo, CEO of CATOCA, talks to TBY about working toward sustainable diamond mining in Angola by integrating technologies, such as digitalization and waste management, and providing training to employees and local communities to preserve the environment and create a sustainable economic source of living.
A key aspect for Angola’s development is the responsible exploitation of its mining potential, including diamond mining. For this it is necessary to improve Angola’s image as a diamond producer through more sustainable and transparent practices. How is CATOCA working to integrate such practices?
From the point of view of production, Catoca is among the three largest open pit mines, supplying diamonds to the global market. This needs to be a sustainable venture. We have extensive experience of certain countries rich in gold and other minerals and are thinking long term in terms of diamond production. We have about 10 years remaining for open mining before we move operations underground. And with the CATOCA concept and available resources, we are creating conditions for that supply area to be a sustainable economic source of living. Interestingly, too, there is a tourism dimension, and today we are creating the conditions for mining tourism. The plateau and beautiful plains of Chicapa are a place of interest for visitors.
Technological uptake a fundamental for the development of Angola’s mining sector. How is CATOCA implementing technologies in key areas such as waste management?
Our responsibility is to care for and preserve the environment. Mining is necessary for the broader economy. CATOCA provides training not only to our employees, but also in the communities themselves. Digitalization yields relevant information that increases affluence and reduces waste. For example, the east of the country has a great deal of water and trees, but locals burning the earth depletes soil quality. The communities believe this to be a useful practice. We transfer actionable information on soil preservation and so forth. And doing a soil survey analysis for agriculture, in the last seven years, we have had extraordinary results. With the use of technology, we have less waste and greater efficiency, and the most important thing is that we can use the resources that nature gives us responsibly. Today in our ore treatment process we use river water, which is then treated and returned to the river in good condition.