Attract more investors into gemstone sector, Govt urged


THE Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of  Zambia (ESMAZ) has urged Government to help attract investors into the gemstone sector to revive dormant emerald mines.
ESMAZ secretary general, Victor Kalesha said if at least 20 per cent of the dormant gemstone mines in Zambia could be revived, the country’s gemstone industry would be bolstered to contribute more to the national treasury.
Currently – only three emerald mines Kagem, Miku and Grizzly – are operational in Zambia. The three mines, all privately owned, are located in Lufwanyama district on the Copperbelt Province.
Mr Kalesha said in an interview that the two emerald auctions held in Zambia recently are a platform which Government could use to attract investment into the country’s industry.
“The successful holding of two emerald auctions in Zambia this year, indicates that the gemstone industry in Zambia can contribute towards the growth to the economy.
“In implementing the foreign direct investment policy, Government should attract more investors so that small-scale miners are given assistance to contribute to the growth of the economy,” he said.
Mr Kalesha said investing in the gemstone industry was a key to diversifying the mining sector to lessen Zambia’s dependence on copper.
He said emeralds were on demand internationally and could contribute massively to the national treasury.
“So if these mines can take off, Zambia’s economy will be enhanced because at the moment, three mines can’t meet the international demand for emeralds,” Mr Kalesha said.
He said reviving the mines will also contribute to job creation for the local people.