The partnership between the Zambian government and British gemstone exploration, mining and marketing company Gemfields has been commended by a United Kingdom government trade and investment mission.
Delegates from the energy and mining sector toured the mine in Lufwanyama District as part of a mission organized by the UK government’s Department for International Trade.
The London-listed company owns 75 per cent of Kagem Mining – the World’s single largest producing emerald mine in partnership with the Zambia government, and is one of Zambia’s largest taxpaying mining companies.
Gemfields acquired its 75 per cent interest in Kagem in July 2008.
Since then, and when combined with the royalties due from the most recent auction in Jaipur in September 2016, Kagem’s cumulative contributions to the Zambian government in the form of mineral royalties, tax and dividends has exceeded US$100 million: US$ 12.5 million in dividends, US$30 million in royalties and US$58 million in corporation tax.
Kagem and its parent company Gemfields are at the forefront of developing the international market for Zambian emeralds by investing in exploration, mining, sales and marketing in order to develop a competitive, reliable and trusted source of responsibly-sourced gemstones while pioneering new environmental, social and safety standards in the coloured gemstone sector.
“We are here with a UK mission to look at how the UK can potentially work with Zambian companies particularly the mining sector to help the Zambian economy prosper.
We’re at Kagem mining, Gemfields is a brand well-known in London and it’s great to come to the site itself to see where the emeralds come from and it’s certain so far a very impressive operation” said DIT mining sector specialist Craig Sillars.
Gemfields chief executive officer Ian Harebottle expressed the company’s intention to increase the mine’s production to 40 million carats over the next three to four years after having exceeded its previous target of 25 to 30 million carats and maintaining it at 30 million carats for the just-ended financial year of 30 June, 2016.
“The team at Kagem has been hard at work and is at the moment focused on managing cost, increasing efficiencies and scale of operations with the intent to grow output.
We see a lot of potential for growing demand, growing supply and growing markets but at the same time with respect for our environment,” said Mr Harebottle, who is also CEO of Kagem.
The company continues to invest in sustainable opening cast mining and increasing the scale of operations with renewed confidence with a recent resource statement registering a 25-year life of mine for its open pit operations and indicated inferred mineral resources of 1.8 billion carats of emeralds and beryl.
Under Gemfields’ stewardship, Kagem has returned to profitability, is paying dividends to its shareholders, including the Zambian government, and has created jobs, most recently increasing its workforce by 10 per cent to some 700 permanent and pensionable staff.
Since Gemfields took over operation of the mine in 2008, it has invested more than US$60 million in turning Kagem from a long history of loss-making to a point where it has been able to increase achievable prices on the global markets more than tenfold and contribute to Zambia’s direct foreign earnings through 22 auctions of emerald and beryl produced from Kagem.