Production at Gemfields’ 75%-owned Kagem Mining in Zambia fell to 3.6 million carats of emerald and beryl in the three months to the end of March – down from 6.5 million carats a year ago.
Gemfields says the grade of 198 carats per tonne compared with 265 carats per tonne a year ago but added that operations at the mine remain robust and well positioned ahead of an anticipated improvement in grades.
But the group saw further progress at the Montepuez ruby deposit, with the final preparations for its inaugural rough ruby auction in Singapore in June well under way.
Chief executive Ian Harebottle said: “Kagem endured a second quarter of reduced production, largely as a result of the unseasonably high rainfalls experienced within Zambia during the period as well as the characteristic grade volatility in coloured gemstone mining. However, operations at the mine remain robust, with Kagem in a strong position to benefit from an anticipated improvement in grades and achieve overall production volumes in line with management expectations.
“Fabergé has seen the momentum behind the significant growth in the December sales figures maintained all the way through the quarter. The feedback we received from press and clients at BASELWORLD was most encouraging and bodes well for future demand.
“Underlying gemstone markets remain healthy, supported by the ongoing increase in global demand for emeralds and other coloured gemstones. Our concerted marketing efforts continue in earnest and we look forward to the results of this week’s auction of traded rough emeralds.”
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