By DERRICK SILIMINA
The Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) applauds Grizzly Mining Ltd for hosting the first-ever auction of gemstones in the Copperbelt Province.
The four days international event from August 31 to September 3, 2021 is yet again showcasing Zambia’s fine jewels thus placing the country on the elite global gemstone trade circuit.
Association President Victor Kalesha has said the move to host its auction within Kitwe will help attract more foreign investors in the sector especially among international merchants who come to purchase the precious stones.
“I think this has been long overdue because we have been calling for auctions to be held on the Copperbelt. This is where these gemstones are coming from and we are mindful that it will promote the hotel and tourism industry,” Kalesha says.
The auction hosted in Kitwe will help attract investors who would have loved to invest in the district rather than a distant venue as most buyers are given 30-day permits to be in Zambia.
Kalesha further stresses that bringing the auction closer to the mining area will also enable small holder miners to invite one or two buyers who may be interested to take a glimpse of their mining site with the possibility to attract them to invest locally.
“This is a commendable job, well done by Grizzly Mining. We feel Kagem should bring their auction to Kitwe as well. This initiative will also help open up a ready market for us small scale miners be able to sale our commodity at a competitive price.”
And Kalesha has implored the newly-elected Government to flex its mining taxation policies.
“A flexible tax mine regime is vital as it is what determines how investment will thrive in a labour- and capital-intensive gemstone sector. I think taxation needs to be looked at on a win-win manner so that it does not kill the industry. We would also appeal to the incoming Government to prioritize small-scale miners who have been lagging behind for a very long time.”
He reiterates that it is high time the new administration reawakens the sleeping giant as the emerald sector has the capacity to create jobs through its various value chains.
Kalesha commends President Hakainde Hichilema’s inaugural speech for hinting that his administration will enhance value addition to the gems that are produced in Zambia.
“As an Association, we feel much more should be done in terms of investment as we are mindful that Government has the capacity to develop the sector be able to contribute to the growth of the economy.”