BRITISH precious stones miner Gemfields Plc said the auction of emeralds from its Kagem mine in Zambia would be pushed to February as the bulk of its customers for the gem are from India, which is in the throes of a so-called “demonetisation” drive.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi in November decided to scrap 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes in a bid to flush out cash earned through illegal activities, or earned legally but never disclosed.
“The new demonetisation programme will require an adjustment period to allow industries and stakeholders to adapt to the new policies… we have decided to delay our forthcoming emerald auction by approximately two months,” chief executive Officer Ian Harebottle said in a statement.
“This decision has been well received, and appreciated, by our auction participants,” he added.
Gemfields said its ruby auction would proceed this month as planned, given that the crimson and pinkish-red coloured gems have a diversified customer base across Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China.
The company, which has mining operations in Zambia for emeralds and amethysts and in Mozambique for ruby and corundum, added that there was no change to its full-year revenue guidance.