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Zambia protects assets with high tech security at Kagem emerald mine

As the single largest producer of emeralds in the world, Zambias Kagem emerald mine is an asset well worth protecting. Nobody understands this better th...

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|Jul 17|magazine6 min read

As the single largest producer of emeralds in the world, Zambia’s Kagem emerald mine is an asset well worth protecting. Nobody understands this better than the Zambian government, still 25 percent owner of the mine in partnership with 75 percent owner Gemfields Plc. As a display of this understanding, Zambia has invested $167.5 million in state-of-the-art biometric technology in order to better defend its revenue building Copperbelt province property against theft and ultimately increase the mine’s bottom line.

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The new biometric security system being installed at the 41 square kilometer open pit mine site is being touted as the first of its kind to be activated within Zambia’s gemstone sector. Key features include fingerprint recognition for easier identification and more efficient clocking in and out for mine workers, along with more tightly controlled access throughout sections of the mine and adjacent processing facilities. The hope for the Zambian government is that the enhanced security will help to strengthen what is already proving to be a profitable and promising gemstone business, with increased production and growth serving as a fitting return on investment for the upgrade.

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“Since Gemfields took over the operation of the mine in 2008 it has turned Kagem into a profit-making business that has paid taxes, royalties and dividends to the government for the first time in its history,” said Kagem chairman William B. Nyirenda in a statement announcing this new development. “These additional security measures will further strengthen the company and ensure we continue to grow, for the benefit of the shareholders, the country and the communities in which we work.”

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[SOURCE: Communications Africa; African Business Review]