Kagem Mining says it has recorded a price rise of up to three fold since it held its first emerald auction in 2009.
Kagem Chief Executive Ian Harebottle said since Kagem’s first auction in Jaipur, India when its emeralds fetched an average of US$0.31 per carat, the company has seen prices rise achieving US$1.12 per carat in November 2011 for the lower-grade stones that are typically sold at the Indian sales.
Mr. Harebottle said the three previous Jaipur auctions netted a total of US$28.1 million, all of which was repatriated back to Zambia.
He said in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today that his company believes that being able to sell Zambian emeralds globally will enable it obtain the best possible prices for the stones.
Mr. Harebottle said the emeralds that are on sale are lower-grade stones that are being offered ‘rough’ rather than cut and polished.
He said Kagem does not undertake commercial cutting and polishing of gemstones, but instead prefers to focus on its core objectives of efficient mining of emeralds.
This is backed by a concerted marketing campaign to promote the use and purchase of their ethically produced emeralds by the world’s leading fine jewellers and customers.
Kagem Mining, which operates the world’s single largest emerald mine in partnership with the Zambian government, is staging a landmark auction of Zambian emeralds in Lusaka this week from April 15-19, 2013.
The auction looks set to make Lusaka City become one of an elite group of global centres for gemstone trading.
Around 30 of the world’s leading gemstone industry specialists have been invited to participate in the eagerly awaited sale of precious stones which will be overseen by officials from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Ministry of Finance and the Zambia Revenue Authority.
The Kagem Chief Executive hoped that by the end of the week Lusaka would be firmly on the map as one of a small group of cities recognised worldwide as centres of excellence for gemstone trading.
Mr. Harebottle expected auction prices to be slightly lower than those obtained in Jaipur as a result of the sale of illicit gemstones on the periphery of the event.
He however expressed confidence that the auction would be a success and that Lusaka would be added to the circuit of international auctions held by Gemfields, the London-listed company that owns 75 percent of Kagem in partnership with the Zambian government, which owns the remaining 25 percent shares.