Business

Gemstone auction raises over $15m

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.
“We 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,” 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 company’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 Kagem’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.

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