Emerald and ruby miner Gemfields says a series of mini auctions in March and April brought in $31.4m (R447m), the highest emerald auction revenue achieved since March 2016.

Gemfields, whose two key operating assets are Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique and the Kagen emerald mine in Zambia, is highly dependent on auction revenue, with Covid-19 disrupting sales in 2020.

Operations at Kagem were suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and remained suspended until March as the group sought to preserve cash during difficult market conditions.

The rough emeralds sold at the auction were all extracted before March 2020, with the recent auction results meaning that Kagem has already surpassed the aggregate auction revenues achieved in the whole of 2020, which stood at just $22.4m.

“This was Kagem’s highest auction revenue since March 2016 and we were very pleased to see such strong demand and pricing,” said Gemfields MD of products and sales Adrian Banks.

“Due to the arising supply and demand dynamics, a number of our clients have therefore seen this auction as a vital opportunity to purchase emeralds,” said Banks.

Mining operations at Kagem are expected to ramp back up to full scale by end-April.

In morning trade on Monday Gemfield’s share was up 3.33% to R1.55, giving the group a market value of R1.8bn.

Gemfields has recovered 14.71% so far in 2021, but has fallen a similar amount over the past 12 months.


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