Kagem Mining Limited (Emerald)

The world’s single-largest producing emerald mine. The 41 square kilometre licence area is located in the Ndola Rural Emerald Restricted Area and lies south of Kitwe and west of Ndola, in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province. It is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The mine comprises three open pits.

For more information on Gemfields, please visit: www.gemfields.com


Kagem produced 230,500 carats of premium emerald for the year ended 31 December 2021.

Auction Results

Kagem has generated total cumulative auction sales revenue of USD899 million since July 2009.



In 2007, Gemfields Group Limited (formerly Pallinghurst Resources Limited) (“GGL”) identified the coloured gemstone sector as an “overlooked” industry that offered a unique investment opportunity. Demand for coloured gemstones by the jewellery and fashion sectors was increasing, but supply was constrained and fragmented due to the lack of large, reliable producers able to consistently deliver sufficient quantities of gemstones. Pallinghurst saw an opportunity to unlock value by bringing capital, scale and professionalism to the industry, to which end it assembled a consortium of Pallinghurst Co-Investors, including the Group.
Kagem, an emerald mine in the “Copperbelt” region of northern Zambia, currently producing nearly a quarter of the world’s emeralds, was the consortium’s first acquisition in the sector. Kagem had been producing emeralds for nearly 20 years but was performing badly due to a combination of poor management, theft, shareholder conflicts and a lack of capital. Through a series of transactions, the consortium acquired 75% of Kagem, with the balance held by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. In pursuing its vision for consolidating the sector, the consortium acquired majority control of AIM-listed Gemfields plc (“Gemfields”) by selling Kagem to Gemfields in a reverse takeover during 2008.


The Mbuva-Chibolele licence is located on the Fwaya-Fwaya–Pirala Belt in the NRERA within the Kafubu area of the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, on the southern banks of the Kafubu River. It lies along the west-southwest strike from the nearby Fwaya-Fwaya emerald mining zone adjacent to the Kagem licence area. This pit was kept under care and maintenance from 2007 onwards so as to focus on operations at Kagem. However, following GGL’s acquisition of Gemfields, a decision was made to expand the Group’s emerald footprint and, accordingly, operations at Mbuva- Chibolele were resumed in late 2017.

During October 2019, in accordance with the Licence Transfer Agreement between Gemfields Mining Limited and Kagem, the Chibolele, Kamakanga and Arinus licences held by Gemfields Mining Limited were transferred to Kagem. The transfer was approved by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development. In February 2020, the remaining eight licences included under the same Licence Transfer Agreement were approved by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Developments and transferred.

Pioneering Auction System

Gemfields implemented an innovative grading and auction system for selling its rough gemstones. The auctions are held in secure locations with the material separated into homogenous lots and certified as either having been produced by Gemfields or obtained by Gemfields from third parties. The world’s leading rough gemstone buyers submit sealed bids for individual lots. A sale occurs if the highest bid received exceeds a pre-determined, but undisclosed, reserve price. The auctions have brought a level of professionalism and transparency previously not seen in the industry.

As there was no industry standard for evaluating rough coloured gemstones, Gemfields established its own grading system to assess each gem according to its individual characteristics (size, colour, shape and clarity). This approach has been instrumental in providing buyers with confidence in the consistent quality of the material on offer. Gemfields used this grading system to develop two auction classes, one offering higher quality gemstones and the other for the larger volume of lower quality gems.

Strong Emerald Auction Results

Since its first auction in July 2009, Gemfields has seen increased demand for its responsibly sourced and transparently supplied emeralds, highlighting the success of its formalised and consistent method of marketing rough coloured gemstones by auction.

Gemfields’ 43 auctions of emerald and beryl mined at Kagem since July 2009 have generated US$899 million in aggregate revenues. Gemfields continues to experience significant demand for its responsibly sourced emerald and beryl with successive auctions regularly achieving record per carat prices and auction proceeds.

April 2022

During March/April 2022, an auction of predominantly commercial quality rough emerald was held in Jaipur. The auction generated USD42.3 million, an all-time record for any Kagem auction at an average price of USD9.37 per carat, an all-time record for Kagem commercial quality auctions.

May 2022

During May 2022, a series of five small and sequential emerald auctions of a selection of grades were held online, with private viewings taking place in Bangkok, Thailand. The auctions generated revenues of US$43.3 million at an average price of US$155.90 per carat, again breaking the Kagem all-time record for both metrics.

September 2022

During August/September 2022, an auction of predominantly commercial quality rough emerald was held. The auction generated USD32.9 million, the second-highest figure ever achieved at a Kagem commercial quality auction. The auction achieved an average price of USD9.01 per carat, the second-highest figure ever achieved at a Kagem commercial quality auction.

November 2022

During October/November 2022, an auction of different emerald grades was held in Bangkok. In addition, the auction included a 37kg special interest piece called the “Kafubu Cluster”. The auction generated USD30.8 million at an average price of USD76.78 per carat. The Kafubu Cluster set a new record as the most expensive single emerald item ever sold by Gemfields.

Kagem’s Operations




Health, safety and environment


Kagem Beneficial Ownership

Mining operations were well on track during the first quarter of the year until the full impact of Covid-19 led to the suspension of principal operations from 30 March 2020. Kagem recommenced operations at the wash plant from 17 March 2021. Up until the suspension of principal operations in March 2020, Kagem continued work in all three pits: Chama, Fibolele and Chibolele.
Fibolele was mined all along the 600m strike length. The adjacent pit was dewatered so that the present working pit can be extended along the strike direction. Chibolele was mined at two productive sectors and a pushback for western extension was initiated.

Gemstone production for the year was 9.4 Mct of emerald and beryl, with 133,862 carats of premium emerald. This is a sharp fall from the previous year as the operation was suspended since March 2020.
Of the total production, Chama pit contributed 7.88 million carats, Chibolele contributed 1.38 million carats and Fibolele provided 0.13 million carats.

In addition to the steps taken to upgrade the security system in and around the pits in the previous years, in 2020 an additional CCTV tower was erected to establish more focussed surveillance at Chama contact points, radio communications were improved, and patrol teams specific to particular zones were formed and deployed. A new palisade fence was erected around the sort house to enhance security.

Kagem continues to mine in a responsible, transparent and safe manner whilst sticking to the tenets of legitimacy, transparency and integrity as an essential part of health, safety and environment (“HSE”) and its commitment to mining safety and environmental conservation. We aim at a zero-harm (injury-free) culture and our efforts can never be overemphasised as the health and safety of our employees is not only considered critical to the operation but is also ultimately the responsibility of each individual.

The sustainability and corporate responsibility activities aim to position Kagem in good standing with local communities and to ensure that its policies impact positively on people and complement Government in reducing poverty levels and suffering amongst the people. Our approach is community participation in line with Government policy.

Kagem is 75% owned by Gemfields. Gemfields is in turn owned by thousands of shareholders via Gemfields’ public company listings on the London (AIM) and Johannesburg stock exchanges. Gemfields has no controlling shareholder.

The remaining 25% of Kagem is owned by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia (“IDC”), a state-owned enterprise charged with the mandate to spearhead the Zambian Government’s commercial investments agenda, which aims to strengthen Zambia’s industrial base and aid job creation. The IDC of Zambia was incorporated in January 2014 and is 100% owned by the Zambian Government.

The IDC’s investment portfolio spans a wide range of sectors including agriculture, energy, healthcare, transportation and logistics, and mining.


Total operating cost, as defined below, for the year was USD33.4 million (December 2019: USD61.7 million), with a unit operating cost of USD14.48 per tonne of rock handled compared to USD4.90 in 2019. The cash rock-handling unit cost (defined as total cash operating costs divided by total rock handled) was USD9.48 per tonne for the year, with a total cash cost of USD21.8 million compared to USD38.9 million and USD3.07 per tonne in 2019, as the operations were suspended from April 2020 to December 2020 leading to lower production than during the prior year.

Total operating cost includes mining and production cost, selling, general and administrative expenses, and depreciation and amortisation, but excludes the change in inventory.

During the year, USD0.9 million was invested in the replacement of mining and ancillary equipment as well as in infrastructure improvements. The capital investment was significantly below the USD4.3 million made in 2019, mainly due to the suspension of operations from April 2020 as the Group prioritised employee safety and cash conservation.

From The Directors

Thanks to the sterling efforts of our team in Zambia, Kagem achieved remarkable production of “premium emeralds” during the only operating quarter of 2020.

Chief Executive

‘Chipembele’, the 7,525 carat Rhino Emerald

Gemfields is delighted to introduce “Chipembele”, the latest and largest significant gemstone discovered at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia.

Please click below to download the ‘Chipembele’ press statement.

Click here to visit ‘Inkalamu’, the 5,655 carat Lion Emerald


The global coloured gemstone market continues to grow soundly and Gemfields has the potential to expand through its existing emerald and ruby businesses, its recently acquired projects and to apply its successful model to other coloured gemstones.

Related News and Announcements

Emerald Auction Results

Gemfields is pleased to announce the results of an auction of predominantly commercial quality rough emeralds held from 31 August to 19 September 2022. The emeralds were extracted by Kagem Mining Ltd in Zambia (“Kagem”, which is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia). The proceeds of this auction will be fully repatriated to Kagem in Zambia, with all royalties due to the Government of the Republic of Zambia being paid on the full sales prices achieved at the auction.

Monthly Operational Market Update – 31 December 2021

Gemfields shareholders are advised that the Company has released information about its operational results and financial position up to and including 31 December 2021. The figures have been produced on a monthly basis for Gemfields’ 75%-owned Kagem emerald mine, its 75%-owned Montepuez ruby mine and Fabergé, the iconic luxury brand.
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