ANRM’s strategy for Angola’s mining sector TEY_post_Jacinto-ROCHA

Angola offers a wealth of untapped resources beyond diamonds, and as awareness grows, we anticipate increased interest and exploration.


ANRM’s strategy for Angola’s mining sector

April 3, 2024

Jacinto Rocha, CEO of the National Mineral Resources Agency (ANRM), talks to The Energy Year about the strategic measures the agency has taken to attract investment in Angola’s mining sector and the measures the agency is taking to maximise the benefits from mining for the country. ANRM regulates and promotes the Angolan mining sector.

What strategic measures has ANRM undertaken to attract investment?
We have been trying to get the sector organised because you cannot attract investment if you’re not organised. However, this procedure took more than four years. We have been focusing quite a lot internally, setting up the internal infrastructure, developing human capital and making sure that the agency is financially stable.
During these four years, we’ve successfully garnered the interest of four significant mining companies. Given the novelty of our agency within the Angolan legal framework, we’ve faced the task of persuading stakeholders and redirecting their focus. Transitioning away from the traditional licensing system under the ministry required thorough preparation to align stakeholders with the country’s new direction.
Our approach has been one of quiet diligence rather than loud proclamation. We’ve steadily and methodically carried out our responsibilities, focusing on the gradual execution of our objectives. This deliberate strategy reflects our commitment to driving sustainable growth within the sector.

What are some of the measures that the agency is taking to ensure it maximises the benefits from mining for the country?
While we have administrative autonomy, the agency operates within a broader framework set by the executive. Our role is to implement the directives established by the government rather than pursuing independent agendas.
We adhere closely to the national and sectoral development plans outlined by the Angolan government, aligning with their objectives. Our focus on promoting investment stems from the government’s commitment to the same goal. Our efforts are guided by a shared vision with the state, and my role is to ensure that these objectives are realised effectively.

What strategic objective are you pursuing currently?
One objective we aim to achieve, in line with directives from the ministries, is to be included in the annual Fraser Institute Survey of Mining. Currently Angola has not been represented in the survey due to a lack of interviews conducted with companies in the country. However, it is a priority for the government to secure Angola’s presence in this survey.
While the Fraser Institute survey is a perception index, it holds significant influence in shaping investor perception. A positive rating in the survey can attract greater investor interest, while one’s absence may raise questions.

What motivated Angola’s decision to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)?
Angola’s decision to join the EITI stems from our commitment to transparency and openness on the global stage. Although the mining sector wasn’t shrouded in secrecy, we recognised the importance of aligning with international standards. By participating in this initiative, we enhance Angola’s visibility and credibility in the global mining community.
It also addresses any potential questions about our commitment to transparency. Our licensing processes are already transparent, with applications and decisions being made public. Joining the EITI reaffirms our dedication to openness and ensures that Angola’s mineral sector operates with integrity and accountability.


How well positioned do you think Angola is compared to your neighbours in terms of mining sector investments?
Investors are attracted to Angola for several reasons. Firstly, we offer security of tenure and a stable political and social environment. Unlike many countries, Angola has resolved internal conflicts without third-party intervention, demonstrating our ability to achieve peace and stability domestically.
Politically we are on a trajectory towards greater democracy, while recognising that it is an ongoing process of improvement. Our mining legislation, established in 2011, has provided a stable framework that investors find reassuring.
Angola’s geological potential is also gaining attention. While some may not yet see extensive brownfields or greenfields, it’s important to understand that investing in greenfields now lays the foundation for future success. Those who expect immediate returns from brownfields may miss the opportunity for long-term growth.
Companies such as Angolitio have recognised this potential, with ventures into lithium mining in Namibia, showcasing the diverse opportunities beyond diamonds. Angola offers a wealth of untapped resources beyond diamonds, and as awareness grows, we anticipate increased interest and exploration across various sectors of our economy.

What are the challenges in attracting international companies?
There may be challenges to address upon entering Angola, but these shouldn’t deter investors. Infrastructure, including road quality and electricity access, is an area needing improvement, yet companies find ways to navigate these obstacles. Moreover, while drinking tap water directly may not be advisable, mineral water is readily available for purchase.
The conduct of the government plays a significant role in investor confidence, as favourable governance is essential for realising the country’s geological potential. Language barriers are minimal at the professional level, given that many Angolans have received education abroad, often in English-speaking countries.

How is the mining sector going to change in Angola due to the energy transition?
The focus on diamonds in Angola stemmed from their accessibility rather than a lack of other opportunities. Angola boasts vast potential for various minerals, making it an attractive prospect compared to other countries.
Being a newcomer on the scene means more opportunities for discoveries. Beyond the energy transition, minerals such as iron ore and copper have always been in demand.
Additionally, Angola’s clean hydroelectric energy sources allow for environmentally conscious mining practices. Unlike many countries, Angola can potentially pioneer green mining initiatives.
As current officials, our decisions are aimed at securing prosperity for future generations rather than personal gain. Although we will not witness the fruition of agreements during our tenure, we recognise the importance of laying the groundwork for future success in the mining sector.

What strategic plans does Angola have in place to maximise the economic potential of the Lobito Corridor?
The Lobito Corridor was initially constructed to facilitate copper transportation from the DRC and Zambia. While this route is now operational, the key question is how Angola intends to leverage investments along the corridor. Merely having the corridor isn’t sufficient for growth; it’s essential to consider how Angola can capitalise on it.
Without active planning and strategic utilisation, the corridor’s potential may not be fully realised. Therefore, the critical aspect lies in Angola’s approach to deriving benefits from the increased transportation activity along the corridor.

What is ANRM’s strategy for the development of the mining sector?
Our strategy is to introduce one or two additional major mining companies and then integrate junior companies into the sector. Juniors play a crucial role, as they often make significant discoveries that benefit both themselves and larger firms.
While major companies such as Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe hold vast land concessions and are likely to make substantial discoveries due to their scale, juniors have been instrumental in uncovering opportunities in areas such as lithium, where major players are absent.
We aim to strike a balance by nurturing junior companies alongside established majors. Looking ahead, while we anticipate significant socioeconomic benefits from mining production in the next 5-10 years, our immediate focus is on capacity building. This involves not only attracting external companies but also empowering Angolans to participate meaningfully in the mining industry, ensuring they are equipped to seize opportunities and contribute to its growth.

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