TWENTY-FIVE international gemstone buyers have converged on Lusaka to participate in the fifth auction of emeralds by Kagem Mining Ltd and Gemfields Plc, which opened yesterday.
Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda officially flagged off the four-day event that has attracted buyers from India, United States of America (USA) and Germany.
The buyers are expected to participate in the auction, spending four days appraising 21 lots of Kagem emeralds – 922 kilogrammes of lower-grade emeralds and 1,500 kilogrammes of beryl, before submitting their sealed bids on Friday afternoon when the winning bidders will be announced.
Mr Chanda said the Government was happy with the transparent manner in which Kagem Mining was conducting the auctions.
“We are very much proud of you, Kagem, for the way you have handled your business and for being transparent, and we just hope other mining companies will emulate you,” Mr Chanda said. “We know what you are making and what you are spending, we know what the Government
In a statement released by Langmead and Baker, Kagem chairperson William Nyirenda thanked the buyers and the Government for their support and said the company took pride in the quality of the stones on offer to the customers and the manner of the production of the stone.
British-owned Gemfields operates the Kagem emerald mine in Lufwanyama, in which the Zambian Government is a 25 per cent shareholder.
All the emeralds on offer at the auction were mined at Kagem’s mine in Lufwanyama, the single largest producing emerald mine in the world.
Mr Nyirenda said Gemfields and Kagem were in the forefront of developing the international market for Zambian emeralds by investing in sales and marketing to develop a competitive, reliable and trusted source of ethically-produced gemstones.
“This long-term strategy to place Zambian gemstones on the international map is aimed at optimising sales value by assuring buyers of the quality and consistency of supply, thus maximising profitability and hence tax revenue, employment and economic and social benefits for Zambia,” he said.
At its last emerald auction in Zambia, Gemfields raked in US$32 million.
Times of Zambia