By Derrick Silimina
The Jewellers Association Show (JAS) of India has described Grizzly Mining Company’s sixth emerald auction sale as progressive but urged the Zambian Government to avoid introducing higher taxes and duty which could cripple the emergent sector.
In an interview on the sidelines of the auction sale at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, JAS Executive Member Ashok Maheshwari has urged Government to consider reducing the export duty on emeralds, which if not checked will negatively affect the sector.
“When we came for the last auction, we came to learn about the export duty of about 15 percent being introduced by the Government. I think this is not the time for putting in place all these taxes and duty because the overall global market is not performing well. I think this is not the right time because it will affect our buyers of finished products and once they shun our products, then we will also fail to come to buy the raw materials from here,” he said.
Mr Maheshwari has described Grizzly Mining Company’s documentation as straight forward for all bidders thus making the entire process “very transparent.”
“We are very happy to be here because being partners with them from the very first day, we have observed that their assortment of gemstones has improved a lot in terms of the material which is coming from the mines. The mining company is doing the best and this becomes very easy for us manufacturers to get the goods manufactured and supplied to our customers.”
And Mr Maheshwari has suggested that Grizzly Mining Company should enhance their price control for the manufacturers to strike a balance and meet the international demand for their buyers.
“We need a comfortable pricing structure because we find that the price keeps on getting higher. It might be that they have higher mining costs, but a fair price structure is key because we face challenges in prices of finished goods on the world market. So, we need control of prices on the raw materials so that we can supply the goods to our buyers at a reasonable price.”
He however commended Grizzly Mining Company for recording massive progress to their auctioning process since inception.
Mr Maheshwari, who is also Managing Director for Nakshatra Gems, a company that manufactures and trades in finished emerald products, observed that Africa’s raw materials and those from Zambia were on demand on the international market.
“Gemstone industry in Zambia is great because all the natural resource is from Zambia.”
He reiterated that Zambia’s wide scope of resources was key for emerald manufacturers which also helped contribute to the country’s treasury and job creation for the mining industry.
Other bidders expressed delight at the quality emeralds being auctioned by Grizzly Mining Company.
One of the partners at Cosmopolitan Trading Corporation from India, Divyank Bader, has considered Zambia’s precious stones to be of high quality, and that the future for the gemstone industry in the country was bright.
“The market for Zambian emeralds is good. Zambian emeralds are among the best as they are known for their good quality over the past years. They command a market demand across the world.”
Mr Bader noted that Grizzly’s Mining Company’s emeralds auction sale bridges the gap between buyers and suppliers as they bargain for quality thereby making them pay for the stones’ worth.
And Mr Bader has observed that going by Grizzly mining Company’s transparent auctioneering process, the sector is becoming well-organised.
“Over the years, I have seen that the gemstone industry in Zambia is becoming more organized and the future is bright. And going forward, I feel it will be more organised.”
On the pricing structure of the precious stones, the bidder stressed that there was need for the mining company to consider pegging the gems at the right price according to their quality.
“Basically, it has to be the right quality at the right price because the buyers around the world are slightly conservative right now in terms of pricing.”
Mr Bader described his experience in the Zambian auctioneering process as “awesome”.
“It’s been good ever since it started, and the process has been transparent over the years.”
And Ishmael Modi, a bidder from the Indian city of Jaipur, the main global centre for emerald trading, is optimistic for the future of Zambian emeralds in the world market.
Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.