Gemfields Plc, the biggest emerald producer, was barred from sending Zambian stones to Singapore for auction on concern the sale would shift revenues overseas.
Selling the gems outside Zambia isn’t permitted, Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said June 1 by telephone. The government blocked Gemfields from exporting the emeralds last week, he said.
The southern African nation in April said it wanted all gemstones to be auctioned in the country and any exports should first be sold in Zambia. That may curb revenue from Gemfields’ Kagem emerald mine, the world’s largest, as the company has previously been able to sell the stones in India and Singapore.
The London-based producer had intended to hold an auction in Singapore on June 10 to 14, before the end of its financial year this month. Director Sean Gilbertson said May 31 that Gemfields was in talks with the government over the sale.
“We do not believe that there is any law that makes it illegal to hold an auction offshore,” he said in an interview in Lusaka, the capital. “We are literally in the process now of working on that export process and I hope we get that export sorted out imminently.”
Gemfields agreed in March to hold an April sale in Lusaka. It held the auction from April 15 to 19, selling $15.2 million of stones.