Gemfields Executive Director Sean Gilbertson has revealed that Gemfields has incorporated all its Zambian gemstone licences into Kagem Mining Limited.
Mr Gilbertson said this is expanding the footprint of its emerald mining operations in Lufwanyama following approval by the Ministry of Mines.
He made those remarks when he paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Lieutenant General Paul Mihova at Zambia House.
“We have confidence in the Zambian Government, and this is why Gemfields has transferred the 11 previously wholly-owned gemstone licences to Kagem, which include the Mbuva-Chibolele emerald and the well- regarded Kamakanga emerald deposit. The transfer enhances Kagem’s resource base and production levels, mitigating the risks associated with the volatile nature of emerald mining and achieving economies of scale,” he said.
Mr Gilbertson said the move is to safeguard Kagem’s position as the leading Zambian emerald producer and one that can lead the emerald sector internationally especially in light of increased competition, particularly from Colombia.
He said the transfer follows Kagem’s emerald mining licence renewal to a further 25 years starting from December 2019 to April 2045 and would further Kagem’s position as the prominent global producer of emeralds.
And Mr Gilbertson said the emeralds mine will construct a Vocational Training Centre which will function under the auspices of Zambia’s Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) and once operational, it will be accredited to TEVETA.
Mr Gilbertson said the facility will include a four- classroom block, administrative buildings, teacher accommodation, and workshops at an estimated USD 1.5 million investment.
Meanwhile the High Commissioner Luet Mihova has said Zambian emeralds were becoming popular and that it was encouraging to see that Zambia was a major competitor in the industry and called on investors to consider investing in emerald mining.
Kagem/Gemfields have been instrumental in promoting Zambian Emeralds to the world enlisting the help of celebrities such as American actress Mila Kunis to wear Zambian Emeralds on the red carpet.