Sunday, October 9, 2016

Gemfields Kagem Emerald Mine

The Kagem emerald mine is the world’s single largest producer of emeralds and accounts for approximately 20% of global emerald production.

It covers an area of approximately 41 square kilometres and is located in the central part of the Ndola Rural Emerald Restricted Area, in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia.
In 2004 Gemfields Resources PLC started systematic exploration south of the Ndola River, and made some important discoveries. Mining began in 2005. By 2007, Gemfields had acquired 100 percent ownership of two mines in the area.

In June 2008, Gemfields formed a collaboration with the Zambian government, establishing a 75/25 ownership split of the Kagem emerald mine.

Miners chisel the reaction zone rock to recover any emeralds it might contain.
Security and supervisory staff are always present during hand-chiseling of the exposed contact zone to recover the emeralds. This not only helps to secure the emeralds from theft but also helps to provide complete transparency of recovery.

Any production found goes into a locked production box.
Kagem is primarily an open-pit mine. Gemfields uses a strip-and-fill method to mine its deposits. A pushback occurs when they move the highwall of the pit farther back to continue exploiting the deposit.

The mine is expected to have another 25 years of life.
Once ore is transported to the washing plant, it follows a process that is typical of coloured gemstone mining operations. Screens are used to break down the material by size and then washers remove the silt to expose the potential emerald-bearing schist for hand pickers to examine.
Production capacity of the open-pit mine is around 8,000 tons of ore a month.

Cobbing removes highly included areas from the emerald rough.

Size classification is important since small stones are often less included than larger ones.

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