Gemfields Zambian emerald auction generates record revenue

Gemfields beats two emeralds records at latest Lusaka auction

Gemfields Plc, producer of about a fifth of the world’s rough emeralds, said revenues from its latest auction in Zambia were a record $36.5 million.

Shares of the company, owner of the luxury jewellery brand Fabergé, rose as much as 3 percent in early trading.

Gemfields had been selling output from its flagship Kagem mine around the world until the Zambian government said last April that all emeralds mined in the country must be auctioned at home.

The February auction of rough emeralds and beryl was the fourth to be held in the Zambian capital Lusaka in the last 11 months. Gemfields has been lobbying the Zambian government to extend its emerald auctions beyond the country.

The company said total revenue from rough emerald and beryl sales in the financial year-to-date have reached $96.4 million.

It had reported a 42 percent fall in revenue for the year ended June 30, 2013 as the Zambian government directive resulted in a delay in holding the auctions.

In the latest auction, held between Feb. 21 and Feb. 25, the average price was $59.31 per carat. Fifteen of 17 lots on offer were sold, Gemfields said in a statement.

The miner said two more auctions were scheduled to take place before the end of the financial year, including the inaugural auction of rough rubies and corundum from the Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique.

Having earlier risen nearly 3 percent, Gemfields’ shares were trading flat at 35.50 pence on the London Stock Exchange.