I N V E S T M E N T ---- C E N T R E
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Emeralds are the world's most expensive gemstones and becoming scarcer by the day, as mines in Columbia, Brazil, etc., are running out of high quality and larger emeralds. Good top quality emeralds are higher priced than diamonds of the same quality and size. Emerald prices are not controlled by any organisation as happens with diamonds. Therefore, they present a person with the best investment opportunity.
The emeralds from Zambia are known as among the best in the world. Their colour is certainly superior and, if mined properly, so is the quality. Often explosives and shock waves have damaged stones, but using different techniques can avoid that. One of the richest areas in the world is the Ndola District in Northern Zambia. An estimated 30% of the present total world production comes from this small area, covering about 16 x 22 km. Zambia is currently producing more than 1,800 kg (9 million carats) of emeralds per year. Of these a good 20% are of jewellery quality - cabochons and faceting material - obtaining prices of between US$20 and US$2,000 per ct in rough material.
Processed and faceted emerald gemstones reach prices of more than US$8,000 per carat. Crystals in excess of 1,000 carats are found - yielding various gemstone stones totalling around 200 carats of which at least one stone is more than 30 carats when cut. Emerald crystals in the 50 to 200 carat range are not uncommon. During the years prior to 1996 emerald prices were considerable higher - up to US$25,000 for the super grades, but due to a controversial court case in the USA prices dropped. People lost trust in emeralds because many jewellers sold emeralds as natural and not-enhanced while lab tests proved differently. 90% of larger emeralds are oil treated or sometimes even epoxy filled to hide cracks and flaws. These gems should be sold at prices of 50% or less than the natural untreated stones. At present more labs are coming into operations and emeralds can be sold with a laboratory certificate and report. This will cause prices of emeralds to rise again, hopefully back on line of those three years ago where emeralds were the most expensive gemstone.
In this emerald restricted area, there are about 180 mining plots. Most of these are undeveloped or in a stage of minor production by local people. These little mines operate on a small scale using only shovels, hammers and chisels. Some nine mines are mechanized to a degree of which the three larger mines are producing about 65% of Zambia's emeralds.
We have obtained the rights to develop four emerald bearing plots in Zambia - the smallest one is 108 hectares. Two of these plots are in the centre of the major current producers and situated on the high quality Piralla vein. Some of the best stones in the world - size, colour, clarity, and quality - come from the Piralla mine, only 500 metres from our plots and 40 metres deep! In Columbia the mines are generally deeper than 200 metres. Initially we will mine open cast up to about 40 metres and from there on use the shaft and tunnel system.
Investment / development may take one of two routes:
Very small investment (US$125,000). Small scale development on mine and setting up gem factory.
Small investment (US$250,000). This will be used for development on plot 5G only.
Larger investment (US$1 Million). We will be able to develop all four properties together
Besides Emerald products we will create additional income to cover running costs. This income will come from by-products such as: timber, crystal quartz & carvings, mineral water export, other gemstone trading and even setting up our own polishing factory.
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