Zambia's top producer has put on hold the auction of high-quality emeralds planned for June 10-14 in Singapore, pending clarification on proposed restrictions governing the export of stones from Zambia, the Times of Zambia reported on Wednesday.
In April, the Zambian government announced that auctioning of locally-produced emeralds would be done within Zambia in order to increase revenue collection from the green stones. Gemfields, which operates Kagem Emerald Mine in Zambia in which the Zambian government has a 25 percent stake, says it was actively corresponding with the Ministry of Mines in Zambia on carrying out the auction and expressed confidence that a solution would be found.
Ian Harebottle, the company's chief executive officer, said the management was confident that solutions supporting the continued growth of the emerald miner in Zambia would be reached soon, adding that there was a strong incentive for all parties to ensure that remarkable growth Kagem had enjoyed in recent years were not impeded.
Last month, the company held a local auction of low-grade emerald in Zambia, which however was slammed by both buyers and sellers. Around 24 of 31 gemstone companies turned up to the auction, amid complaints from buyers that hosting auctions in the Zambia capital was impractical, with buyers who turned up complaining of long distance. While the organizers expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the auction, they indicated that they would love that auctions are not only restricted in Zambia but that they should be allowed to conduct auction in any part of the world where they would get a good price.