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Russia’s Alrosa to build two power plants in Namibia

Russia’s major diamond producer, Alrosa, plans to build two electric power plants in Namibia, the Rough & Polished agency said on Thursday, citing the company’s president.

Sergei Vybornov discussed his company’s “very serious plans for Namibia” at a meeting with Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marco Hausiku in Namibia on Wednesday. “We have already held negotiations with the St. Petersburg Project Constitution company about the building of two electric power stations [in Namibia],” Vybornov told the agency. “This project has been approved by the Namibian president. The construction of electric power stations will make it possible to avoid the effects of the energy crisis in South Africa, the main energy supplier today,” Vybornov was quoted as saying. He added that his company, whose share in the global rough diamond output amounts to 25%, would also explore diamond deposits in Namibia. On Thursday, Vybornov paid a working visit to neighboring Angola and met with the country’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Alrosa has two joint projects in Angola - Catoca Ltd and LUO-Kamachia-Kamajiku. It owns 32.8 % and 45%, respectively, of these companies. The company has also built a hydroelectric dam on the Chicapa River in Angola’s northeastern Luanda Sul province. According to the company’s press service, it is also the first Russian company to receive permission from the Angolan government for large-scale oil and gas prospecting and exploration in the country. “The expansion of economic cooperation with African countries is seen by Alrosa as one of its most important strategic drives,” its press service said in a statement. According to preliminary estimations, Alrosa, which accounts for 97% of Russian and 25% of global diamond output, sold diamonds worth $146.7 billion in 2007. The main shareholders in the company are the Federal Property Fund (37%), private companies (23%), and the government of East Siberia’s Yakutia Region (8%). (