A mining company has set out a strategy to put Zambian emeralds at the forefront of the world’s fine jewel industry.
Kagem Mining, which operates the world’s single largest emerald mine, is 75 per cent owned by UK-listed Gemfields plc, and 25 per cent owned by the Zambian government.
At a media briefing on Friday, Kagem and Gemfields Chief Executive Officer, Ian Harebottle, said the company is pioneering a revolutionary approach to the gemstone sector that integrates world-class mining with a strong marketing strategy and a commitment to local value addition.
Mr Harebottle said Kagem had embarked on a new phase of its strategy four years after surviving a financial setback and is now a thriving enterprise producing about 20 per cent of the world’s global rough emerald supply.
He said the company was proud to partner with the Zambian government in building the nation’s gemstone sector into a vibrant industry.
Worldwide production of emeralds is estimated at US$500 million per year, of which Zambia accounts for around one-third, which is US$167 million.
Kagem is responsible for mining approximately 50 per cent of Zambia’s emeralds and pays up to about 90 per cent of the tax generated from the gemstone sector.