GEMFIELDS Plc which has transformed Kamakanga Gemstone Mine (Kagem) to a profit making entity with massive capital investments, has in the past three years contributed KR689 million to Zambia's foreign direct earnings.
Company chief executive officer Ian Harebottle said with an investment capital of KR550 million, has also undertaken to invest a total of KR150 million per annum in Kagem mine located in Lufwanyama on the Copperbelt.
He said Gemfields was committed to a long-term re-capitalisation of the Kagem mine and has transformed the mine from a long history of loss-making to one where it has been able to increase achievable prices on the global markets almost ten-fold.
"All these earnings have been repatriated back to Zambia, where they have been used to settle old debts inherited from the previous management and continually re-invest in the Kagem mine and the global marketing of Zambian emeralds," he said.
"This policy has been directly responsible for Kagem's success in recent years, ensuring that Kagem and Zambia as a nation, is increasingly recognised as a global leader in the coloured gemstone industry and allowing Kagem to become the single largest emerald industry contributor to Zambia's national economy,.
"This is despite it being just one of Zambia's numerous registered emerald producers and exporters," Mr Harebottle said.
Kagem, which is 25 per cent owned by the Zambian Government, produces approximately 20 per cent of the global rough emerald supply, with worldwide production estimated at US$500 million (KR 2.6 billion) per year.
The company is pioneering a new approach to gemstone mining that integrates world-class mining with a strong marketing strategy and a commitment to local value addition in areas of core competence.
Gemfields, a London-listed coloured gemstone mining company, acquired a 75 per cent stake in the then bankrupt Kagem in 2008, with the remaining 25 per cent being held by the Government of Zambia on behalf of the Zambian people.