Business

Kagem’s gemstone mining lifespan increases

KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
KAGEM Mining Limited has projected a 25-year gemstone mining operation in Zambia following an international report disclosing that the Lufwanyama district-based minefields have a combined mineral resource of 1.8 billion carats of emeralds and beryl that will result in production of 44.7 million carats annually.
With a carat being equal to 0.2 grammes, the mine could yield up to 360 million grams or 360 tonnes of gemstones over the updated estimate of its projected future mine life.
Kagem , which is 75 percent owned by London-listed Gemfields Plc and 25 percent by the Zambian government, will need to invest up to an additional US$84 million of capital expenditure in the mine over the next four or five years and a total of US$516 million over the life of the mine.
This development will further provide for an increase in the ore mining and processing capacity of the mine from the current 90,000 tonnes per year to 180,000 tonnes per year, being projected for 2018, with the inclusion of the Fibolele pit.
According to a report by UK-based mine analysts SRK Consulting, whose specialists made a comprehensive review of Kagem’s operations and analysed hundreds of core boxes in Kagem’s core library of sections drilled into the earth across the mine. This is in order to build up a high-tech geological model of the mine and evaluate the likely volume of emeralds available for long-term open-pit mining.
It is this state-of-the-art computerised approach to coloured gemstone mining introduced by Gemfields that has transformed the project and enabled Kagem to constantly improve efficiencies and optimise returns at the mine.
Commenting on the report, Gemfields chief executive officer Ian Harebottle said the updated resource statement highlights the long-term opportunity that exists at the mine.
“…The significance of this report is not only a milestone event that bears testament to the quantity and quality of work carried out by SRK and the Gemfields team at Kagem, but also provides further evidence of the continued growth potential, positive momentum and considerable opportunity inherent within the open-pit mine plan,” he said.

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