|Miners at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia. Photo credit: Gemfields|
Mining company Gemfields has reported record annual production from its emerald mine in Zambia with a jump in grades per ton and a cut in production costs.
In an operational update for its fourth quarter and full year to June 2011, the company says annual production increased 90 percent to 33 million carats versus the previous year, as reported by the Proactiveinvestors financial news service. Gemfield's 75 percent owned Kagem mine in Zambia—the single largest emerald mine in the world. It is currently the company’s only operating emerald mine. The mine debt free, the company said.
Grade for the year came in at 478 carats per ton versus 286 in prior year, and per carat production costs were reduced by 41 percent to 43 cents per carat, according to the report. Rock handling costs for the year fell 25 percent to $3.70 per ton.
The final quarter of the year alone produced 10.8 million carats at a grade of 500 carats per ton and a unit cost of 32 cents per carat.
At its recent July auction of high quality rough emeralds, the company placed 1.07 million carats and successfully sold 740,000 carats to generate record sales of $31.6 million. Per carat prices at the July 2011 sale improved by 63 percent to 42.71 per carat, compared with its December 2010 auction.
So far, the company said it has completed seven auctions in the past two years, generating total revenue of $87.5 million.