By SILUMESI MALUMO
KAGEM Mining Limited and Gemcanton Mining Services Limited made a loss of over US$72 million from the gemstone auctions last year, Mines and Minerals Development Minister Richard Musukwa has said.
Mr Musukwa said both Kagem Mining Limited and Gemcanton Mining Services Limited only had four gemstone auctions last year generating a revenue of $52.76m.
He said in an interview that in 2019, the two gemstone mining companies had seven auctions generating a revenue of $125.5m.
The reduction in auctions, he said, resulted in the loss of $72.74m.
Mr Musukwa said: “The reduction in the number of auctions held was due to the Covid-19 restrictions on movements by countries.”
“A total of four gemstone auctions were held during the period under review by Kagem and Gemcanton generating a revenue of US$52.76m compared to seven auctions conducted in 2019 which generated a total revenue US$125.5m,” he said.
Mr Musukwa said the sector reported a decline in production of gemstones in 2020 which stood at 9, 783.43 kg compared to the 23, 704.61 kg in 2019.
The reduction, he said, was due to the suspension of operations at both Kagem and Gemcanton due to Covid-19 pandemic.