By Brecken Branstrator
Lusaka, Zambia--Gemfields recent auction of predominantly lower-quality rough emerald and beryl generated $15.5 million for the gemstone miner, the second-highest amount achieved at one of the miner’s lower-quality auctions.

The auction, held from Aug. 5 to 8 in Lusaka, Zambia, marked the first in the company’s fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2015. Of the 21 lots offered, 17 were sold, with 21 companies in attendance and bidding.

The auction was 96 percent sold by carat weight but only 88 percent sold by value. Including the low-grade beryl, the auction realized a per-carat price of $1.34.

Excluding the sale of the 1.5 tons of rough beryl (since no beryl was sold in the three previous auctions of lower quality), the per-carat price was $3.61. This is a 9 percent increase on the $3.32 achieved at the most recent lower-quality auction, held in November 2013.

Total sales for the August auction, however, were lower than the company record set for lower-grade auctions last November, which reached $16.4 million.

Sixteen auctions held since July 2009 featuring emerald and beryl mined at the Kagem mine in Zambia have generated $276 million in total revenues.

“Gemfields has now completed five successful auctions in Zambia, all during the last 17 months. We were pleased to see a significant quantity of our low-grade beryl sold at this auction, something we have not seen at auction since November 2011. Excluding the effect of this material, we set a new record unit price of $3.61 per carat for our lower-quality auctions, underlining yet again how robust demand remains for our Zambian emeralds,” said CEO Ian Harebottle.

Gemfields’ next auction of emeralds is slated to take place before Dec. 31. 

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