GOVERNMENT PLEDGES TO CLEAN-UP THE EMERALD SECTOR
The government has pledged to clean-up the emerald sector to ensure the industry benefits both investors and the people of Zambia.
The message came from the Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Hon. Richard Musukwa in his keynote speech to leading gemstone industry experts at the Zambia Emerald Summit in Lusaka yesterday (May 30).
“My government is determined to clean-up the emerald sector,” he stated, explaining that the government would work with the Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) to ensure initiatives were co-ordinated to help small-scale miners and crack-down on illegal trading.
“We believe that we have a duty as a government to look at our licence procedures, including exports. We have several people who do not have a mining business or a mine, yet they have huge access to emeralds. This is unfair practice because the people operating the mines where there are illegal and stolen stones are putting in capital,” added the Minister.
Hon. Musuka also said: “My government is committed to ensuring that this sector is helped in order to ensure that it contributes significantly to the economy of this country. We would like to ensure we have a win-win situation where the investor is happy; the people are happy; and the government is happy.”
Sean Gilbertson, Executive Director of London-listed Gemfields plc, which was principal sponsor of the summit and owns 75 percent of the Kagem mine in Lufwanyama in partnership with the Zambian government, said: “Gemfields and Kagem welcomes the unequivocal support expressed by the honourable deputy minister. Government’s recognition of the need to strengthen and enforce the transparency and legislation in the mining sector is both timely and commendable.”
More than 100 delegates are attending the Zambian Emerald Summit, which was aimed at facilitating meaningful dialogue between key stakeholders in the emerald industry and provide an opportunity for industry outsiders to better understand the emerald sector.
Local industry stakeholders, international gemstone and policy experts, and government representatives were meeting to explore how the Zambian emerald sector can best be developed into a world leader whilst ensuring that the relevant revenues and profits accrue within Zambia.
Other issues under discussion included transfer pricing, revenues and tax payments, issues affecting small-scale miners, adding value to gemstones, tracing and certification, marketing and auctions.
The two-day session at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka included presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions and networking events.
Other speakers included Chumwe Mining Director of Operations and Administration Victor Kalesha; Vice President of the International Coloured Gemstone Association, Jean Claude Michelou; Kagem Mining Sorthouse Superintendent Jackson Mtonga; Mining geologist Dr Sixtus Mulenga; business consultant Phesto Musonda; Kagem Mining Chairman William B Nyirenda SC; gemstone expert Julius Petsch; and banker Jeremy Wrathall.