UK-headquartered Gemfields has confirmed that its 75%-owned Kagem emerald mine, in Zambia, will reopen principal operations in a phased manner starting in the second week of March.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic all but critical operations at the mine have remained suspended since March 30, 2020.
The operating company, Kagem Mining, says the reopening process will start with the wash plant production area, followed by the mining operations, which is expected to be completed by the second week of April.
Kagem says it has been able to avoid redundancies and retain its workforce, which was still paid 80% of their basic salaries despite not working, owing to financial support provided by Gemfields.
The balance of the mine is owned by the Zambian Industrial Development Corporation.
Gemfields remains unable to provide reliable guidance as to when it might return to its regular emerald auction format and schedule, meaning future revenues remain uncertain.
The company was, however, able to hold a series of mini-auctions in the last quarter of 2020, with the Minister of Mines’ approval.
Despite the ongoing challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, Kagem remains committed to delivering strong production and successful auctions in the 2021 financial year, maintaining employment for the local workforce and delivering financial contributions back to Zambia.