‘Link small-scale miners to investors’

illegal mining
illegal mining

GOVERNMENT should link the more than 400 small-scale gemstone miners to foreign investors to increase the country’s producing companies and maximise annual production.
Emeralds and Semi-Precious Stone Miners Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) said once small scale-miners were linked to investors, they would be empowered and help to increase production.
ESMAZ general secretary Victor Kalesha said the three companies producing precious stones in the country were not enough and there was need to increase them.
Currently, Zambia only boasts of Kagem, Miku and Grizzly mines, all situated in Lufwanyama on the Copperbelt who are producing high class emeralds.
“Government should link small-scale miners to foreign investors so that more gemstones can be produced to supplement what the other three mines are producing,” Mr Kalesha said.
When small-scale miners are empowered, more proceeds from the emerald mines would be channelled towards other economic development projects.
Mr Kalesha said Government should also use the gemstone auctioning platform to empower small-scale local miners to increase country’s mining capacity for gemstones.
Demand for local emeralds has soared and improved Zambia’s ranking as the second highest gemstone producing country in the world.
Mr Kalesh urged Government to take advantage of the prevailing conducive market for Zambian emeralds to attract investment in the sector.
Recently, Gemfields owned Kagem Mining Limited held its fourth auction for quality rough emeralds in Lusaka.
The London Stock exchange listed Gemfields, raised US$36.5 million, the highest since Kagem started holding local auctions for emeralds in Zambia last year.
“Results by Kagem are very impressive as the auction attracted more buyers and increased revenue for Gemfields. This shows that Zambian emeralds have a wide market which can be exploited further by attracting more investments for small-scale miners,” he said.
Zambia contributes 20 per cent of the world’s emeralds and is second to top global gemstone producer, Colombia.