Catoca is the biggest among all kimberlite pipes situated in the Lucapa structure in North-eastern Angola. The Catoca kimberlite pipe, underlying a surface area of about 64 hectares, is considered to be the fourth biggest diamond-rich rock formation in the world.
The pipe comprises of volcanogenic-sedimentary rocks. The inner ring of the vertical tube is made up of porphyric kimberlites, while the central part is filled with kimberlitic breccias.
The proven and probable diamond reserves of the mine are estimated at 130Mct.
Catoca mine history
The Catoca kimberlite pipe was discovered by Companhia de Diamantes de Angola (Diamang) in 1965. Artisanal method of mining was carried out during the exploration. Endiama conducted feasibility studies for the commercial exploitation of the kimberlite during 1980s.
The Sociedade Mineira de Catoca joint venture was formed in 1994 to build and operate the mine. The first diamonds from the Catoca processing plant were recovered in 1997. The expansion of the processing plant was completed in 2005.