Zambia Forbids Gemfields From Selling Gemstones Abroad
(June 5, ’13, 1:43 Albert Robinson)
(IDEX Online News) – Gemfields Plc, the biggest emerald producer in the world, has been prevented by the Zambian government from sending gemstones to Singapore for auction due to fears the sale would move revenues abroad.
Zambia’s Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister, Yamfwa Mukanga, said selling the gems outside Zambia is not allowed, and the government stopped Gemfields from exporting the emeralds last week, he told Bloomberg News.
The Zambian government said in April that all gemstones mined in the country should be sold in Zambia and any exports should first be sold in Zambia.
The move will reduce revenue from Gemfields’ Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, the biggest in the world. The producer previously sold its stones in India and Singapore.
Gemfields had planned to hold an auction in Singapore from June 10 to 14, ahead of the end of its financial year this month. Company director Sean Gilbertson said last week that Gemfields was holding talks with the government regarding the sale, the newswire reported.
“We do not believe that there is any law that makes it illegal to hold an auction offshore,” Gilbertson said. “We are literally in the process now of working on that export process and I hope we get that export sorted out imminently.”
Gemfields held a sale in April in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, selling $15.2 million of stones.