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Zambia and Mozambique: The Hidden Gems of Africa

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zambia and Mozambique are home to some of the most stunning gemstones in the world, but their true value is often obscured by illicit mining and underreporting. A new report by Gemfields, a leading producer of ethically sourced emeralds and rubies, reveals the alarming extent to which these countries are being deprived of the benefits of their natural resources.

According to the report, most colored gemstones are extracted by artisanal miners, who lack proper reporting standards and often sell their gems for well below market value. This means that the host countries lose out on tax revenues, royalties and foreign exchange earnings. Moreover, illicit mining poses serious environmental and social risks, such as deforestation, pollution, human rights violations and conflict.

Gemfields operates two mines in Southern Africa: Kagem in Zambia, which is the world’s single largest producing emerald mine, and Montepuez in Mozambique, which accounts for about 40% of the global ruby supply. The company has established a proprietary grading system and a pioneering auction platform to provide a consistent and transparent supply of colored gemstones to downstream markets. It also works closely with local communities and governments to ensure that its operations are socially and environmentally responsible.

The company’s report aims to improve the understanding of the colored gemstone industry by providing more reliable and available data on international supply. It also invites other industry players and sources to collaborate and share their data, as well as to adopt ethical standards and best practices. By doing so, Gemfields hopes to enhance the reputation and value of colored gemstones, as well as to create a more sustainable and equitable industry for all stakeholders.

The report also showcases the beauty and uniqueness of Zambian emeralds and Mozambican rubies, which have captivated jewelry lovers around the world. The emeralds are among the oldest on earth, formed by contact between beryllium, chromium and vanadium more than 500 million years ago. The rubies are rich in color and quality, owing to their high iron content and low silk presence. Both gems are featured in the creations of Fabergé, the iconic jewelry house owned by Gemfields.

The report is part of Gemfields’ efforts to promote its vision of “a world where colored gemstones are celebrated for their positive impact on people and planet”. The company believes that by shining a light on the hidden gems of Africa, it can inspire more consumers to choose ethically sourced gemstones that reflect their values and preferences.

Source: Mining Weekly

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