24 December 2012

Zambia: Association Cites Emeralds Marketing Setbacks

THE Emeralds and Semi-precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) is facing challenges in marketing high-grade Zambian emeralds and other gemstones globally because of the manner the minerals are being sold.

Association president Dale Litana said there was a problem to link Zambia with the high-grade emerald it was producing because it was being sold by individuals and a few local companies which were buying from them.

The companies later resale the emeralds to some other buying agents who also offload it on the world market.

Mr Litana said ESMAZ was working with the Government to promote the selling of emeralds and other gemstones locally.

The good quality Zambian emeralds are being mistaken to be from the Far East when traded on the international market.

He said currently selling of gemstones was a complicated, expensive and risky business which has on a number of times left some small-scale miners swindled.

"It is now good that the Government wants to tap the potential of the gemstone sector which needs more investment to ensure that the country gains foreign exchange and help in job creation apart from ensuring that the bulk of the selling is done within the country," he said.

He said apart from the Government, some foreign investors who want to enter into business partnership with ESMAZ members and some commercial banks were now increasingly showing interest in doing business with small-scale emerald mining firms.

Mr Litana said although there was no law which restricted the selling of emeralds outside the country, it was economic for many small-scale miners to sell their emeralds within the country.

He said some small-scale emerald mining firms which had capacity to sell their precious stones outside the country were free to do so as long as their business transactions were conducted in a transparent manner.

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