Kagem’s latest auction saw a record number of international gemstone buyers for commercial quality emerald auctions held in Lusaka.
The auction of 35 schedules of emeralds from Kagem Mine in Lufwanyama, which is owned 75% by London-based Gemfields and 25% by the Zambian government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), for the first time welcomed Chinese buyers, in what is traditionally a market dominated by companies from India.
Read more about diamonds and gemstones
Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda, who addressed buyers at the close of the auction, thanked participants for putting Zambian emeralds on the world stage and said:
“We have a very good number of customers in this room, an indication that people from across the world are appreciating the quality of emeralds Zambia is recovering.
“The emeralds are competing on the international market, meaning that the country is getting the revenue it needs from this kind of business. People came from across the world to buy our emeralds; which means that more revenue is coming to government.”
“We are happy that Kagem, which has been involved in this business for a long time, is growing bigger and bigger every auction. The company go out there to market; they have been trusted and there is some confidence between them and their clients, and that is what we need to see in this sub-sector: more players coming on board, more competition and more value being given to this sub-sector.”
Kagem chairman Dr Sixtus Mulenga said:
“We have seen unprecedented growth over the years, and Kagem has become the largest emerald producer in the world, implying that Zambia has now overtaken Brazil and Colombia. This is because of the long-term vision that Gemfields has shared with the government of Zambia in this partnership.”
“Should the newly introduced 15% export tax be removed, Kagem’s growth will be further enabled, and as Kagem, we are extremely happy; as a flagship company for the Zambian government and the Zambian people we will continue to grow.”
“What we have experienced today is unprecedented in that we have had the highest attendance in international clientele at our commercial quality auction in Lusaka.
"Whereas India is traditionally our strongest market, we have new players joining the clientele and new clients from China, which means the platform Kagem is working from is getting bigger.
"This feeds into the government’s industrialisation and diversification programme in making the gemstone sector a major contributor to the national sustainable development scenario."
Read more about mining in central Africa
Buyer Lok Chen of Cai Bao Cheng said the company had come from China to buy emeralds because Kagem is the largest emerald mine in the world, the colour and grading of emeralds is good and the mine was able to supply emeralds in large quantities.
All the proceeds from the auction, which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Zambia Revenue Authority, will be repatriated back to Zambia.