Kadhafi turns Congo operation into first Arab-owned diamond mine
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has joined the ranks of exclusive diamond traders by establishing the world’s first largely Arab-owned and controlled diamond mine. The head of state has become the new main shareholder in the Sengamines operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Kadhafi attained de-facto control of the operation by purchasing shares in Oryx Natural Resources (ONR), the operator and principal shareholder of Sengamines. The transaction was carried out by the Libyan Arab African Investment Company (LAAICO), one of the Arab state’s foreign investment arms, reported Tacy.
Last year, Oryx sold 30 million of its 350,000,000 shares to LAAICO for one dollar per share. LAAICO is owned by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO), which acts as the Libyan foreign investment agency. LAFICO’s General Manager Khaled El Zentuti reports directly to Kadhafi.
As part of the share purchase agreement between LAAICO and Oryx, LAAICO was able to appoint one director for every 10 percent of the aggregate issued share capital in Oryx held by LAACIO. In January, the chairperson of LAAICO Mustafa T. Khattabi was brought into the Oryx management as Chairman. The Libyans extended a number of loans to the company in the following months and the involvement deepened.
ONR is a subsidiary of the Oryx Group, a private mining company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. ONR is the financier and manager of Sengamines, which was granted the commercial rights to operate a diamond concession at Mbuji-Mayi in the Kasai Oriental Province of the DRC. The other partners are Minière de Bakwanga, the state Congolese diamond mining company, and the Government of the DRC.
The Sengamines deposit contains mainly low-value industrial diamonds in very large quantities. The operation is forecast to produce ten percent of the world's diamond production for 2003. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)