Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Govt to formalise trading system for emeralds, gemstones
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thu 14 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE government plans to establish a formalised trading system for emeralds and gemstones as it gears ahead for value addition, says mines minister Christopher Yaluma.

Yaluma said Gemfields which is a world renowned player in the gemstone sector would lead the government's plans to locally add value to Zambia's gemstones and create domestic jobs.

Kagem, majority-owned by Gemfields, on Monday conducted the third auction in Lusaka this year at which 1.123 tonnes of commercial and low grade rough emeralds were put for sale to traders from Hong Kong, India, Germany and the US, among other countries.

Yaluma said the government was looking at migrating from the current export of rough emeralds to polished ones as a way of value-addition and to create jobs locally.

"We don't want the beneficiation to happen elsewhere," Yaluma said when he officially opened the one-week auction. "We want to support Kagem on their plans to become the best emeralds company in the world and we are driving to support them to that effect that they succeed. This also creates employment for the people of Zambia the people going to the emerald sub-sector; there will be polishing, there will be cutting; whatever is associated with adding value to our emeralds."

Yaluma said the government wanted to leverage Kagem's strong connection with India, one of the global top producers of emerald jewelries.

"We will try to assimilate what is done in India and Kagem will provide that platform," said Yaluma.

"We want the trading system to come here and people can walk in and purchase the emeralds and any other products of this can done. We want to put up a well-structured formalised trading system and the permanent secretary already advanced and ZCCM- IH and Kagem to put it up.

Gemstone and Kagem have been in this business for a long time and so it's just a matter of picking up ideas and come and customise for Zambia but with the influence and input from Zambian stakeholders. We need this sub-sector to grow just like copper and maximise the benefits and proceeds from this sub-sector."

Currently, copper mining contributes about 5.9 per cent of the gross domestic product while data on revenues and economic contribution of the gemstones sector remains scanty and haphazard.

And Kagem chairman William Nyirenda said the quality of Kagem's emeralds is competitive internationally.

"The return on your investment in our emeralds is competitive internationally. We take pride in the value addition chain of our emeralds so that the product we offer to you is a product that meets your imaginations and expectations," said Nyirenda.

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