Billionaire Lev Leviev, who made his fortune undercutting De Beers’ former diamond monopoly, has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines.

Leviev bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, said by phone.

The operation has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings.

A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details.
The move into emeralds marks a change of course for Leviev.

Born in Soviet Uzbekistan before fleeing to Israel in 1971, he worked as an apprentice in a diamond-polishing plant and established his own factory, striking deals with diamond-producing countries such as Russia and Angola.

He went on to own an 18 percent stake in Angola’s Catoca diamond mine, one of the world’s biggest, before selling to Chinese investors to focus on the Luminas mine in the African country.

As well as his Leviev jewelry company, he controls a real estate empire from Moscow to New York through Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.

The Zambia company registry shows Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited. Grizzly was previously 85 percent owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Ndiaye is a Zambian who is originally from Senegal, and Grizzly has been digging emeralds in Zambia since 1997, according to Gemcanton.

Emerald prices have soared by more than tenfold in the past eight years, as top producer Gemfields Plc sought to expand the market for the green stones and boost advertising.

Emeralds were previously mainly produced by artisanal miners, meaning there wasn’t a consistent supply enough for retailers to run production lines or advertise them. The company owns the Kagem mine, Zambia’s biggest producer.

Gemfields Chief Executive Officer Ian Harebottle said the company has tried to contact Leviev.
“I’ve written to them a few times and said ‘welcome to the area, let’s talk.’ They’ve been non-responsive so far,” Harebottle said in April. “Colored stones offer a great opportunity with great growth potential. It was inevitable that someone else was going to look this way.”

Pallinghurst Resources, which has a 47 percent stake in Gemfields, made an offer in May to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in the company.

An independent Gemfields committee said the offer undervalued the company.
Zambia produced 74.7 metric tons of emerald and beryl, a less-valuable grade of the stone, in 2016, a 42 percent increase from 52.8 tons in 2015, according to the Finance Ministry.

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16 COMMENTS

    • I am positive this will add many jobs which Lungu created

      This though is dirty money by this Russian.

      I hate dirty

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

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  1. There we go AGAIN, ANOTHER COUP DE GRACE as FOREIGNERS KEEP MAKING A FORTUNE OUT OF OUR RESOURCES AS WE REMAIN POOR AND POORER! IN ALL THESE EMERALD ISSUES especially this transaction, WHERE DOES IT PLACE A ZAMBIAN? IF as the report here says “..Zambia produced 74.7 metric tons of emerald and beryl, a less-valuable grade of the stone, in 2016, a 42 percent increase from 52.8 tons in 2015..” – WHERE IS THE BENEFIT TO ZAMBIA TO SHOW FOR THIS? WHY CAN’T WE RUN EMERALD MINES THE WAY BOTSWANA RUNS ITS DIAMOND MINES?? I do recall Mwanawasa had approached Anglo’s De Beers to partner with kagem to run the Emerald Mines, De Beers dragged their feet and now this Leviev may just prove that there may be even more value emeralds than we always thought!

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    • Why don’t you venture into this business. I have done so though I haven’t realized anything but I’ll soldier on until I succeed.

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    • @2.1 Ndanje.. I CAN ONLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO SOLDIER ON as I WILL BE VERY HAPPY TO HAVE OUR OWN ZAMBIA REACH DIAYE’s or LEVIEV’s levels. It PAINS A LOT WHEN I THINK THAT DIAYE ACTUALLY BOUGHT SOME OF THE MOST PRODUCTIVE MINES FROM INDIGENOUS ZAMBIANS FAILED TO RUN THEM! As for me, I BELIEVE I DO NOT YET HAVE THE APTITUDE for business, I am trying farming!

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  2. LT just copied the article straight from yahoo and pasted it here. And without giving credit to the original authors.

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  3. Us Zambians only own shares in bottles of beer we buy over the counter at bar to consume…all worth creating natural resources are owned by foreigners

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  4. This is part of the deal lungu and his cabinet went for in isreail.

    I wonder what was lungus commission.

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    • Not a single dollar mentioned in the article…poor vague article copied from Bloomberg. Its no wonder these empty tins were rushing to Israel.

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  5. I hope they haven’t been given the Mines in exchange for free Zambian Labour. In Zambia you never know! Anyway, how come Zambian women never have evidence of our gems wealth on their engagement fingers? Usually they have home made rings made from beaten tin coke cola bottle tops! I think a new campaign is in order:-

    #A RING FOR EACH GAL IN ZAMBIA

    I mean we should be dripping with it!

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  6. The company is registered in tax haven so you can see where the profits will be going……..not into zambia.
    Why will it increase employment because it is already a mine. He as aquired a half share f an existing company. Profits again off shore. Investment is good when we benefit by employment, increased tax, both employee and company, royalties and rehabilitation of the degraded landscape.

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  7. Comment:Poor zambians so. U think. U brought in investers
    God help us
    Wher wil de profit b going
    Ask youselves

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