Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gemstones of Zambia

Zambia has the second largest deposits of emeralds in the world and accounts for about 20% of global supplies.

Zambia also possesses Africa's largest deposits of amethyst and aquamarine, with the quality of the former considered to be among the very best in the world.
Unfortunately the country has failed to benefit from these vast gemstones riches.
There’s minimal employment creation. Most of the mines are not owned by Zambians and the tax revenue is non-existent.

There are many mines in the country which operate without a license and smuggle stones abroad. These stones are nearly always unprocessed don't fetch good prices on the international market, as compared to cut and polished products. The uncontrolled sale of gemstones and lack of accountability are just a few of the challenges being faced.
In April the Zambian government banned the overseas auctioning of gemstones. In November plans were announced for a gemstone trading system to create a platform for buying and adding value to Zambian gemstones.

Despite protests the new framework appears to be working so far. A low grade rough emeralds auction realized US$15.2 million which was the highest value ever realized. A July auction of high grade emeralds brought US$31.5 million and was the best ever in terms of value per carat sold. All of the 583,448 carats placed on offer changed hands.

The opencast Kagem mine which is producing between 1 and 3 million emerald carats a month.