Gemfields expands outside Africa, targets Latin America emerald assets

Gemfields expands outside Africa, targets Latin America emerald assets

Gemfield’s emeralds modelled by brand ambassador actress Mila Kunis. (Image courtesy of Gemfields)

Precious stones miner Gemfields (LON:GEM), the world's biggest coloured gems producer, is expanding its international footprint by acquiring two separate emerald projects in Colombia, worth a total of up to $22.5 million.

The firm, which owns 75% of the Kagem emerald operation in Zambia and the Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique, said it has signed binding agreements to acquire controlling interests in the assets, located in Boyacá state.

Gemfields noted it had already carried out preliminary due diligence on the historic Coscuez emerald mine. The company has agreed to pay up to $15 million in cash and shares over four years for 70% of the Colombian firm that owns the licences.

The second agreement will see the London-listed miner grab 75% and 70% interests in two Colombian companies that hold mining applications and concessions covering about 20,000 hectares. Payments will again be staged and could total $7.5 million, the company said.

Chief executive officer Ian Harebottle noted the imminent acquisitions are line with Gemfields’ strategy of growing in a “considered yet cautious fashion.”

“The acquisitions offer exciting green and brownfield growth opportunities over the medium to longer term,” Harebottle added.

Gemfileds has come a long way. From being recognized mostly by its emerald production only, the company has picked up speed in the rubies sector. Precious red gems from its newly-acquired Montepuez mine in Mozambique have made their way onto jewels by the likes of Fabergé, Georg Jensen and Miiori – modelled by brand ambassador actress Mila Kunis.

In July, the company unveiled it expected rubies sales to account for a "sizeable chunk" of its revenue over the next five to 10 years.