Field Report

GIA Field Gemologists Visit Zambia’s Emerald Mines


Explore Zambia’s Emerald Mines

Visit Zambia’s emerald mines with GIA field gemologists.

You will surely feel the lure of emerald—central Africa’s green treasure—in this short GIA video. First, you’ll visit the Musakashi, Zambia, emerald mining area where mining is carried out by local people with simple hand tools.

Next, you’ll travel with Field Gemologist Vincent Pardieu and the GIA team to Zambia’s Kafubu area, one of Africa’s oldest gem-mining areas. “There are maybe 400 mines, and maybe less than 10 are active,” says Pardieu.

While there, you’ll witness several active emerald mines. Some are very small-scale and operated by local people, while some, like the MIKU and the KAGEM mines, are very large. The latter is probably the largest colored gemstone mining pit in the world. “The production of the mine is maybe accounting for 20 percent of the world,” remarks Pardieu. “The pit is way bigger than two years ago.”

In this video, you’ll view the entire KAGEM operation—a modern, highly sophisticated mechanized pit mine. As you stand on the rim of the pit, a ripple of explosions blasts ore for processing. “Geology is dictating our mining here,” says Gemfields geologist Robert Gessner.

You will witness workers recovering emeralds from the pit. “It’s exciting to touch a stone coming out of the ground,” says GIA Field Gemologist Andy Lucas.

You’ll also venture underground into Gemfields’ exploratory underground workings and see the firm’s secure processing and sorting facility.

This GIA Field Expedition (FE56) took place in September 2014. Besides Pardieu, the participants were cameraman Didier Gruel, Field Gemologist Andy Lucas, Gems & Gemology Technical Editor Dr. Tao Hsu, and Field Gemologist trainee Stanislas Detroyat.

GIA staff often visit mines, manufacturers, retailers, and others in the gem and jewelry industry for research purposes and to gain insight into the marketplace. GIA appreciates the access and information provided during these visits. These visits and any resulting articles or publications should not be taken or used as endorsements.