8 December 2023

Salary-increase negotiations between Kagem and mine workers conclude with success

The Lufwanyama-based mine has reached a collective agreement with representatives of the two main unions representing local mine workers on employee pay rises for the forthcoming years.


Kagem, thought to be the world’s largest single-producing emerald mine, is majority owned and operated by Gemfields, in partnership with the Zambian government’s Industrial Development Corporation, and is dedicated to ensuring that its operations contribute positively to the local community in this part of Zambia.

Kagem’s newly signed agreement with the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and the National Union of Miners & Allied Workers (NUMAW) will see a 10% pay increase for all unionised employees in 2024, followed by another 10% in 2025. The education allowances granted by Kagem to its employees will also rise, from ZMW 1,500 to ZMW 2,000.

This is the second consecutive year that Kagem has recognised the valued contribution of its workers in financial terms. Hailing this achievement, George Mumba, General Secretary of the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ), said: “We want to thank Kagem and the unions for ‘walking the talk’, because you have fulfilled the obligations of the packages agreement before it expired. It is gratifying to see that within the desired period we were able to conclude the negotiation.”

In 2022, Kagem agreed to raise its contribution to employee pensions from 20% to 25% of basic pay, amounting to a de facto salary increase of 15% for the years 2022 and 2023. This new agreement was finalised in December 2023 – following negotiations between members of the mine’s management team and union delegates – and took effect in January 2024.

Kagem’s General Manager Adriaan Prinsloo expressed happiness at the positive outcome of the talks. “We are delighted to have reached a mutually acceptable agreement with the unions and to offer a salary increase that rightfully recognises the productivity and teamwork of our employees, and their part in helping to maintain the mine’s success… Kagem is committed to looking after its employees and providing a positive local impact, ensuring that Zambian emeralds benefit the people of Zambia.”

As well as rewarding its employees with fair pay, Kagem works to ensure that the local community benefits positively from its operations, providing a raft of community projects, including building roads, schools and a health centre and funding conservation programmes to preserve the natural habitat of this special part of Africa.