Gemfields reports satisfactory Zambian auction

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Per carat prices down 7% at first sale at Ministry of Mines’ request.

Gemfields has reported record revenues at its Lusaka-based auction of low quality emerald and beryls this week, but noted a 7% decline in the price per carat of the stones.

A total 17.3 million carats of emerald and beryl extracted from the Kagem mine in Zambia were put up for sale, with 6.3 million carats sold, generating auction revenues of US$15.2 million (£9.96m), said to be a record for lower-quality auctions.

The auction was held at the request of the Zambian Ministry of Mines, Energy and Development, part of the Zambian government’s demand that all Zambian gemstone auctions be held on home turf.

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Gemfields noted that the price per carat was down 7% compared to a similar sale in Jaipur in June 2012, yielding an overall average of $2.42 (£1.58) per carat for the lots sold.

A total of 31 companies were invited to the auction and 25 attended, with all attendees placing at least two bids.

Gemfields chief executive Ian Harebottle said: "Taking into account the prevailing uncertainty surrounding Gemfields’ future ability to freely sell emeralds outside of Zambia, Gemfields is generally satisfied with the results of its Lusaka auction. The results were reasonable but probably not as optimal as they could have been.

"The figures provide further evidence that the general global economic uncertainty has not had a significant impact on demand for medium to better quality emeralds and beryl."

Harebottle added that Gemfields’ ability to offer clarity and stability within its operating environment "will no doubt also have a positive impact in the longer term and on the peace of mind of our customers".

He spoke further about the restrictions that had been placed on Zambian gemstone producers large and small.

"Confidence in the secure, reliable and convenient supply of our gemstones is a critical ingredient. We will naturally continue to engage all relevant stakeholders within Zambia and abroad in an effort to seek resolution of the prevailing situation in the best interests of the Zambian emerald sector as a whole."
 

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