US$28.4 million in foreign exchange earnings has been raised from an auction of high-quality Zambian emeralds including the exceptionally rare 5,655 carat Inkalamu emerald held in Singapore last week.
The sale of gemstones from the Kagem mine in Lufwanyama was witnessed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Paul Chanda along with other officials from the Ministry, Zambia Revenue Authority and the Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Development Corporation Mateyo Kaluba.
Sean Gilbertson, Chief Executive Officer of Kagem and Gemfields, which owns 75% of the mine in partnership with the Zambian government through the Industrial Development Corporation which owns 25% confirmed that all of the proceeds from the auction will be repatriated back to Zambia.
And Gemfields’ Managing Director of Product and Sales Adrian Banks said the auction saw 40 companies placing bids and generating total revenues of US$28.4 million with an overall average value of US$68.03 per carat.
Mr. Banks said improved liquidity in the trade customers resulted in 74% of the offered carats being sold, versus 56% in the last auction of higher quality emeralds held in Lusaka in May 2018.
“Of the number of lots offered, 77% were sold (versus 59% in the May 2018 auction). Gemfields’ 30 auctions of emeralds and beryl mined at Kagem since July 2009 have generated USD 556 million in total revenues”, Mr. Banks added.
He said the results of what was the company’s first Singapore emerald auction in more than three years clearly reflect the emerging recovery among their trade customers after a protracted period of difficulty.
Mr. Banks said the main focus of attention was the Inkalamu – Lion – emerald, a rare 5,655 carat emerald that shows remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green colour, which attracted international media attention on discovery last month which was purchased at the auction by Rajkumar and Rishabh Tongya of Dia-Color, specialists in high-value gems.
The gemstone was discovered in the eastern part of Kagem’s open-pit mine on October 2nd 2018 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta, who has more than a decade of experience mining Zambian emeralds for the Gemfields group.