BACKGROUND TO EMERALD MINING IN ZAMBIA
Emerald is the green variety of a group of minerals collectively known as beryl. The sheer beauty and rarity of the mineral are two attributes, which account for its immense value. Valuable emeralds have been highly sought after and collected by mankind for over 3000 years. Fabulous tales of emeralds of rare and pure beauty abound in ancient mythology.
In Zambia beryl was first reported from Miku (MT 3158) in the Kafubu Emerald Area of Ndola Rural by N.F. Dicks of the Rhodesia Congo Border Company in 1928 (Hickman, 1972, 1973). The first mining licence (M.0.399) for coloured gemstones was issued to Rio Tinto Financing and Exploration Company Limited in 1963 for the Miku (Harmer, 1969). The area has now been divided into plots by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Department and is open to investment (Money, 1995).
Marlex Mining Plots 303 & 304 (ex-Solid Rock mines) lie within the Kafubu Emerald Mining Area of Zambia which is located some 28 km south of the mining town of Kitwe on the Copperbelt of Zambia. The plots are located within 1:50 000 sheet 1328A1 and the main pit in Plot 304 is roughly centred on grid reference 626840 8S57491 (UTM coordinates) about 1.2km from Kagem Limited across Chantete river. Plot 304 is bound to the east by Plot 303, to the south by Plot 254 and Plot 257 to the west. Plot 303, which lies, to the east of Plot 304 is bound to the south by Plot 254, and to the north by Plot 260. The beacons are at grid reference A (626616 8558063), C (627076 8557049), D (627078 8S57188), E (6267779 8557470), F (627747 85579390), G (627111 8558208) and H (627100 8558050).
Plots 304 and 303 are within Chief Nkana's domain, southwest of the Copperbelt town of Kitwe in an area designated as the Ndola Rural Emerald Area. Access to the two plots from Kitwe is through Tshombe village. A turn to the south after crossing the Kafue River Bridge on the Kitwe-Ndola Dual carriage-way leads to the two plots.