The Emerald Miners Association of Zambia called for the government or private sector to create a gemstone marketing center to control the smuggling of precious gemstones.
EMAZ chairman Ndiwa Yuyi told the Times of Zambia such a step was necessary to control the rate at which precious gems were smuggled out of the country every month. According to EMAZ, the Zambian government loses millions of dollars monthly because a large part of the
country's gemstone output leaves through the black market to the international auction floor.
"Illegal trade in precious stones has reached alarming levels due to lack of a proper marketing system in the industry," he said, adding that the lack of a system means the gemstone industry fails to contribute effectively to economic development.
Yuyi said most miners did not realize the full value of their gemstones and did not bother to seek proper marketing channels. Most miners do not have high gemstone-marketing skills and, therefore, are easily manipulated by black marketers.
Welcoming the Zambian government's efforts to find funds to finance the gemstone industry through the European Union, Yuyi said EMAZ was ready to help find solutions to the current situation.
- by Mark E. Dixon