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Zambia drops 15% export tax on gemstones

Kagem mine is the world’s single largest producer of emeralds, accounting for about 25% of global production. (Image courtesy of Global Business Reports | Twitter.)

Zambia will suspend a 15% export tax on gemstones, excluding diamonds, from Jan. 1 next year as the levy, aimed at raising more revenues ended up affecting the country’s output.

The news was welcomed by Gemfields (JSE: GML), which runs Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, located in the Copperbelt province of Zambia.

Mining accounts for more than 70% of Zambia’s foreign exchange earnings 

The company has had to pay 21% in taxes for its shipments from the African country this year, as its gemstones were also subject to a long-standing 6% mineral royalty. That compares with only 2.5% and 2% producers pay in large-emerald exporting countries Colombia and Brazil, respectively, Gemfields said.

The duty hit small-scale gemstones miners the hardest, as they were unable to attract significant investment this year.

Mining accounts for more than 70% of the southern African nation’s foreign exchange earnings. 

Gemfields is also the operator and 75% owner of the Montepuez ruby mine, which is located in Mozambique.

It also holds controlling interests in various other gemstone mining and prospecting licences in Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Madagascar.