Gemfields Has Positive Talks in Zambia on Offshore Emerald Sales

Zambia held “fruitful” talks with Gemfields Plc this week over allowing emeralds to be auctioned offshore as well as in the country, the mining minister said.

“We are working very hard to make sure we do the best for the industry and the government,” Minister Christopher Yaluma said in an interview yesterday in the nation’s capital of Lusaka. “We are willing to talk and explore.”

Zambia, the third-biggest emerald producer, in April said it wanted all auctions of the green stones held in the country. Gemfields, the nation’s biggest producer of the gems, has said that the company’s sales would be hurt by such an arrangement. A sale in Singapore due on June 10-14 was postponed as Gemfields sought clarification on the rules, it said June 10. The producer held its first and so far only Zambian auction in April.

Talks with Yaluma, who replaced Yamfwa Mukanga as minister this month, have been positive, Sean Gilbertson, an executive director at the company, said in an interview yesterday.

“Both sides hope that we will have a win-win in the not too distant future,” he said. The minister discussed possibly holding some auctions in Zambia and some abroad, he said.

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