By FELIX NKINKE
GEMFIELDS sold US$15.5 million worth of gemstones at an auction which was held in Lusaka recently.
Gemfields, which is the major shareholder in the Lufwanyama-based Kagem mines, sold US$15.5 million worth of rough emeralds and beryl during the auction which held in Lusaka early this month.
This was first auction of the current financial year of the Aim-listed company which recorded the second-highest proceeds to be generated from lower-quality rough emerald and beryl sales.
Gemfields chief executive officer Ian Harebottle was happy with the auction saying such response has not been seen since 2011.
â€œWe were pleased to see a significant quantity of our low-grade beryl sold at this auction, something we have not seen at auction since November 2011,â€ he said.
According to Miningweekly, the rough emerald and beryl auction, held from August 5 to 8, earned the company revenues of US$15.5 million from the sale of 11.6 million carats.
Gemfields sold 17 of the 21 lots on offer, which represented 12.1 million carats of emerald and beryl mined from the companyâ€™s 75 percent-owned Kagem emerald mine.
The auction realised an overall average value of US$1.34/ct, including the sale of 1.5 t of low-grade beryl. Excluding the beryl sales, Gemfields achieved an average unit price of US$3.61/ct.
Twenty-one companies attended the auction, the fifth to be held in Lusaka since April 2013.
In July 2009, Gemfields commenced a formal auction programme for its Zambian emeralds. To date, Gemfields has held 15 auctions of emerald and beryl produced from Kagem which have generated revenues totaling US$260 million.
All the emeralds on offered at all the auctions were mined at Kagemâ€™s mine in Lufwanyama, the single largest producing emerald mine in the world.
The next emerald auction would take place before the end of December.
By FELIX NKINKE