Amethyst Mine

Kariba, Zambia

Kariba Amethyst
Mine, Zambia


The Kariba amethyst mine covers an area of 396 hectares, and is located in the southern part of Kalomo district, Zambia (approximately 550 kilometres south- southwest from the Kagem emerald mine). Kariba has produced some of the finest amethyst in the world.

Its unparalleled deep purple hue, combined with exceptional lustre, sets the standard for excellence internationally. Kariba’s market share has been estimated at over 90% of the amethyst originating from Zambia with annual production reaching as much as 800 tonnes per annum, making it one the largest producers of amethyst in the world. Kariba has, over the years, developed a bespoke amethyst grading system that has established its gemstones as premium products.

Key Facts


Southern part of Kalomo district, Zambia

Acquisition by Gemfields

May 2004



Mining Method

Open-pit, with a 100 tonne per hour washing plant

Ownership Structure

50% Gemfields,
50% ZCCM-IH*

*(ZCCM-IH is 87% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia)

Our assets in detail

Kariba Amethyst Mine


Amethyst mineralisation in Zambia develops from the cooling of hydrothermal fluids which fill in fractures in granitic gneisses and marbles. The amethyst crystals grow in an extensive interconnected network of cavities, forming when the host rocks were exposed to tremendous stress and movement. The amethyst´s unique purple colour derives from iron impurities present within its silicate crystal structure, interacting with the earth’s natural irradiation over millions of years.

Learn More About Amethyst

Open-Pit Mining

Three major zones of amethyst mineralisation have been identified within the licence.

Two of these are located in the central area and host the mine’s most significant amethyst deposits. These zones run through the Cha Cha, Francis, Curlew, Davidson and Horden prospects.


The size of the Kariba operation, which in comparison to Kagem and Montepuez is very small, does not mean that the approach to health, safety and environment is any less robust.

The integrity of Kariba’s approach is still rigorous and the operation has in place the necessary processes to manage the risks according to the likelihood, severity and size of the operation. Kariba’s management gives its staff access to a local doctor for hospital referrals and works with health delivery partners to carry out health and safety training. Environmental studies have been carried out in accordance with law and these approaches are integrated into the mine operations and rehabilitation plan.