Diamond Mogul Leviev Buys 50% of Zambian Emerald MineJune 04, 17
(IDEX Online) – Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev has added emeralds to his portfolio after acquiring half of an emerald mine in Zambia. The green stones have reportedly seen a 10-fold rise in price in the last eight years.
The Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings, reported Bloomberg, citing Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director of Leviev’s Namibian unit.
Leviev used his Israel-based diamond company to purchase half of the emerald mine, Kapwanga said.
The Zambia company registry shows Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited. Grizzly was previously 85 percent owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Grizzly has been digging for emeralds in Zambia since 1997, according to Gemcanton.
Emerald prices have soared by more than tenfold in the past eight years, as top producer Gemfields Plc sought to expand the market for the green stones and boost advertising. Emeralds were previously mainly produced by artisanal miners, meaning there wasn’t a consistent supply enough for retailers to run production lines or advertise them. The company owns the Kagem mine, Zambia’s biggest producer.
Gemfields Chief Executive Officer Ian Harebottle said the company has tried to contact Leviev, but without success.