Zambia: Kagem to Double Emeralds Production

KAGEM Mining Limited is set to double production capacity of emeralds to five million carats per month in the next five years, when it injects an additional US$100 million in its operations this year.

The gemstone miner, which has so far invested KR 550 million in its operations in Lufwanyama District, will move from the current production figures of two million carats to five million per month.

Company chief executive officer Ian Harebottle said for Kagem to double its capacity in the next five years, requires an additional investment of not less than $100 million.

"Over the next five years, we want to double production levels to five million from the current two million. But this will require an additional investment of approximately US$100 million," Mr Harebottle said.

Mr Harebottle who was speaking when he made a presentation at a media briefing in Lusaka at the weekend, said the increase in investment would only be achieved once there was consistent policy and labour laws in addition to security in the country.

The Chief Executive said the company was committed to pioneering a revolutionary approach to the gemstone sector to make it contribute more effectively to the development of the Zambian economy.

Kagem is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom (UK) listed Gemfields Plc and owns 75 per cent shares, while the other 25 per cent is owned by the Zambian Government.

Mr Harebottle said the Gemfields Plc approach, was to integrate world-class mining with a strong marketing strategy and a commitment to local value addition in areas of core competence.

He said Gemfields had invested heavily in bringing Kagem to its current position and has worked constantly to improve efficiency at the mine, where five million kilogrammes of earth had been excavated in order to come up with just one kilogramme of gemstones.

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