Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Mining Engineering, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia.


Designing suitable extraction methods for mining randomly occurring pocket formation of gemstones has never been easy at the Musakashi emerald mine due to the limited geological information. In order to improve the productivity as well as the recovery, in this work,   we undertake a detailed geological survey (airborne, surface mapping, geochemical sampling, and trenching activities), and review, analyze, and establish the appropriate extraction methods, and conduct the economic viability of the mining emeralds in the Musakashi   area. A total of 51 holes are drilled in order to define the mineralization and estimate the mineral resource for the rubble ore and the in-situ ore zones using the Surpac Geovia software. The diamond drilling unravels the existence of an alteration zone enveloping the shales in an area of 150m by 100m. The emerald   is localized within these reaction zones, and is estimated to extend to a depth of about 20–30m below the surface. The total mineral resource stands at 345, 290 grams for the rubble ore and 123,870 grams for the discordant veins. From the geological information obtained, a trial pit design is established with a target of increasing recovery of emeralds from the current 10 kg to 100 kg per year.


[1]. Lee A. Groat, B.M. (2015, September 29). Gem Formation, Production, and Exploration: Why gem deposits are rare, and what is being done to find them. Elements, pp. 153-158.
[2]. Dhanuka, S. (2016). jewelinfo4u. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from gemstone-mining-methods.
[3]. Bowersox G.W., S.L. (1991).  Emeralds of the Panjshir Valley. Gems Gemo, 27(1), 26–39.
[4]. Jessica D. DeWitt, P.G. (2020). Mapping the extent and methods of small-scale emerald mining in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan,. Geocarto International, 1(1), 1-22.
[5]. Kgkgroup/gemstones-mining-methods. (2021). Retrieved February 19, 2021, from https://
[6]. Dreschler, B. (2001). Small-scale Mining and Sustainable Development within the SADC Region. England: IIED.
[7]. Zwaan etal. (2005). Emeralds from the Kafubu. Gems and Gemology, 41(2), 2-34.
[8]. Ng‘uni B., M.K. (2004). Evaluation of the Potential and Authentication of Emerald Mineralization. North-Western Province, Musakashi Area, Chief Mujimanzovu–Solwezi District. Geological Survey Department of Zambia, Draft Economic Report. Lusaka: Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, Zambia.
[9]. Zwaan etal. (2005). Emeralds from the Kafubu area, Zambia. 41, 116-148. Gems and Gemology, 41, 116-148.
[10]. Klemm, L. (2010). Gubelingemlab. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from
[11]. Dombola, K., Salima, J., Mbale-Luka, T., Banda, N., Nyirenda, G., Maneya, G., and Msika, B. (2018). ASM Handbook for Malawi. Copenhagen, Denmark: GEUS.
[12]. Vincent Pardieu, S.S. (2015, April). Research gate, In Search of Emeralds from the Musakashi Area of Zambia. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from
[13]. Jose A Puppim de Oliveira, S.A. (2010). Gemstone mining as a development cluster: A study of Brazil's emerald mines. Resources Policy, ELSVIER, 36(2111), 132-141.