Grizzly Mining and Wolle Mining Limited says the Emerald auction held from 25th to 28th March, 2019 at InterContinental Hotel in Lusaka was legal and was held within the confines of the law.
Company Chief Executive Officer Abdul Bah said there is no legal impediment or order from any court in Zambia that prevents Grizzly mining from completing the transaction of the auction with the buyers.
Speaking at a media briefing, Mr. Bah assured the buyers that they will receive the consignment they bid for as the Court Order from the United Kingdom has no legal effect in Zambia unless further steps are taken.
Mr. Bah described media reports indicating that the auction was illegal as a smear campaign intended to derail and frustrate the legitimate business they have been involved in for a long period of time.
He said the Zambian Government through the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development approved and allowed the auction to proceed as planned.
International lawyers representing Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who through his companies own 50 percent shares in Gemcanton Investment Holdings Limited and Grizzly Mining Limited had warned buyers to be careful with the planned auction especially that there was a worldwide freezing order against principal beneficiary of Grizzly, Abdoulaye Ndiaye.
According to reports, THE 2019 Grizzly Mining Company emerald auction sale has exceeded expectations and helped Zambia rake in a substantial, part of which goes straight into Government coffers in form of tax.
Grizzly Mining Company, Zambia’s second largest emerald mine, held its annual emerald auction sale from March 25-28, 2019 in Lusaka, attracting several bidders from around the world.
This year’s auction had about 350 kilogrammes of best grade of emeralds in the world up for grabs and saw Indian based Green Fields winning most bids lots and walking away with a huge chunk of the precious mineral.
And Grizzly Mining Company management has described this year’s emeralds auction sale conducted at Lusaka’s Intercontinental Hotel as exceedingly beyond expectations.
“We have had almost 100 percent response and our observation as Grizzly Mining is that every time that we have been holding these auction sales locally the response from customers has been overwhelming unlike when we auction abroad. Even the earnings from our home sales have been satisfactory,” said Grizzly Mining General Manager Caroline Maphenduka.
Ms Maphenduka noted that whenever the auction was held abroad the company could not sell beyond a certain amount; but since they started auctioning locally the sales were ever good.
“We are not only happy that the sales have been overwhelmingly successful but when we hold such locally there are other offshoot benefits that accrue to the country. For instance, the transport industry benefits, the hospitality industry benefits, this makes us happy because we are bringing forex into the country,” she noted.
She said, with the ever-growing sales of Zambian emeralds, Grizzly Mining’s vision was now to expand operations and create more jobs for Zambians.
“If from 350 kilogrammes we can get a substantial amount, logically if we had more high-grade stones that means more sales and more money into Government revenue. To us the results are indicative that we are on the right path, we are doing the right thing. However, the biggest cry that our customers have is the excise duty as it makes their bids more expensive, and eventually causes our stones to be uncompetitive,” she said.
Officials from the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development were part of the auction sale to make the exercise transparent.
Ministry of Mines Gemologist Michelle Naambo and her Senior Mining Engineer counterpart Misozi Mwanza described the auction sale as transparent and beneficial to the country.
Ms Mwanza hoped that the country would continue doing more to grow the emerald industry as the stones were the best and highly sought after around the world.
Ms Naambo affirmed that her ministry would continue to make the emerald mining environment favourable so that Grizzly Mining and other miners could continue expanding operations to bring in more revenue for economic growth.