Kagem Mining has reinforced the Zambian government’s optimistic outlook for the future of Zambia’s gemstone and wider mining sector.
This follows a meeting held with Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Hon. Paul C. Kabuswe, MP at Kagem emerald mine site in Lufwanyama as he recently toured the gemstone rich district to gain a better understanding of the operations and activities of the mines.
Hon. Kabuswe stressed the need for transparency in the mining sector, a view that is shared wholeheartedly by Kagem and parent company, Gemfields, as this is critical in ensuring that the correct information is relayed to stakeholders and for the country to benefit from the sector.
“The gemstone industry in Zambia has a future and I am excited about that. I am so excited about Kagem because government has a share in it. Our focus as government is to have organised mining all over; be it in the copper, manganese or gemstone industry. All we need to do is to organise and provide leadership, transparency, integrity and government and the people will get what is due to us. From the path that especially Kagem Mining has shown us, I think we are going in a positive direction and Zambians are going to benefit from these mines,” said Hon. Kabuswe.
The Kagem emerald mine is 75% owned by London-listed Gemfields, in partnership with the Zambian government’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which owns 25%. The mine was significantly affected, with a suspension on operations in place for a year from March 2020, and yet the mine protected the jobs of every employee, continuing to provide salaries and sheltering employees from redundancy despite negligible revenue and zero productivity. Kagem restarted operations in March 2021 attaining full capacity in May 2021.
“What happened at Kagem was very unique; despite the mine closing its operations, it kept employees paid for the whole period of 2020. We are the only gemstone company that did that, despite not producing and only operating on expenditure which was provided for by the mine’s parent company and main shareholder – Gemfields.” Kagem Chairman Dr Sixtus Mulenga