KAGEM Mining Limited, Zambia's largest emerald producer has for the first time in its 29 years of operation declared a dividend of K10.94 million to the Government for the year 2013.
Government holds 25 per cent shares in Kagem.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the dividend of K10.94 million declared to the Government by Kagem signifies the company's commitment in growing the gemstone industry.
Mr Chikwanda said this was the first dividend paid by Kagem in its 29 years history and the first of such payments to the Government from any gemstone operation in Zambia.
The minister was speaking in Lusaka yesterday after the declaration of dividend by Kagem Mining Company .
"Although this is the first time that a dividend is being received from a gemstone mine, I am confident that this is just the beginning of the good things to come from gemstone mining in Zambia," he said.
He said the Government stands ready to contribute to increase capital stock, saying that the mining firm had built a reservoir of experience and needed to expand its operations significantly.
"Now that the company is operating profitably I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Kagem to go an extra mile and partner with the Government in its efforts to alleviate poverty in the community under the Corporate Social Responsibility," he said.
The minister said the Government would remain committed to creating a conducive environment for mining operations in the country for the benefit of both private investors and citizens.
Speaking earlier, Kagem chairperson William Nyirenda said the dividend had been facilitated by the turnaround strategy initiated at Kagem in conjunction with Government five years ago, when London-listed Gemfields Plc acquired a 75 per cent beneficial interest in the company.
"We are declaring a dividend of K41.6 million (about US$8 million), of which K10.94 million (US$2 million) has been paid to the Government, which is a 25 per cent shareholder in the company," he said.
In the past, Kagem was loss-making and its total annual sales (approximately US$ 8.9 million) were the same as the dividend now being paid.
In the year ending June 30, 2012, Kagem's revenues had grown to approximately K405 million (or US$ 78 million).