The fourth auction of the high quality rough emeralds has opened in Lusaka today with over forty one invited buyers from different countries expected to participate.
Emeralds weighing 168 kg are being auctioned.
Speaking during the official opening of the auction at Intercontinental Hotel this morning, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister, Christopher Yaluma, says the potential of emeralds to contribute to the economic development of Zambia has been fully realized over the years because of the manner in which the resources are being exploited.
Mr. Yaluma says government is working on putting in place measures to ensure that all producers auction their emeralds within the country.
Mr. Yaluma has assured Kagem Mining Limited that government is committed to the development and growth of the Zambian Gemstone sub-sectors and ensuring that it is internationally competitive by providing a sustainable and stable investment climate.
He adds that Kagem Mining Limited has demonstrated that mining of emeralds at a large scale and having a transparent and defined marketing system is the way to go in the gemstone industry.
Speaking earlier, Kagem Mining Limited Board Chairman, William Nyirenda, says the company will spend almost US$1 million on a social investment programmes that include the upgrading of a clinic to a hospital status and the construction of a new secondary school in Lufwanyama District.
Mr. Nyirenda says the company recently declared a dividend of K41.6 million, of which K10.94 million was paid to the Government of the Republic of Zambia, which is a 25 per cent shareholder in the company.
He adds that Kagem remains committed to working closely with relevant stakeholders to improve the livelihoods of the people in the communities in which it operates.