THE Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has described Zambia’s gemstone as one of the richest and finest minerals on the planet which can help change the country’s economic landscape if well exploited.
GIA Library Director Robert Weldon said this during a three-day training workshop organized to empower small scale miners with skills on enhancing the country’s mineral value chain held in Lufwanyama District.
Mr. Weldon observed that despite Zambia’s gemstone minerals being appreciated globally, the country has not fully benefited from its proceeds because the products are still sold in raw form.
“It is on this backdrop that our organisation included Zambia’s largest producer of emerald Lufwanyama District on its programme,” said Mr. Weldon.
He disclosed that Zambia is among the five districts in Africa that have been picked to benefit from its four-year training project.
Meanwhile, Lufwanyama District Commissioner Justine Mwalikwa thanked officials from the Gemological Institute of America for impacting knowledge in artisanal miners in the area.
He said Lufwanyama is known to be the largest producer of emerald world over, but it has lagged behind in terms of development due to limited knowledge among the people involved in the industry.
Mr. Mwalikwa urged participants to translate the knowledge acquired into action if the extractive industry is to help the country’s upscale its economic fortunes.
“This is a rare opportunity and I therefore urge all beneficiaries of this training to take the programme seriously,” said Mr. Mwalikwa.