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Looters Ransack Gemfields’ Ethiopia Operation

Thieves steal emeralds and equipment from sorting house.
Aug 2, 2018 7:34 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Gemfields Group has suffered further unrest at its emerald-exploration operation in Ethiopia, with looters vandalizing the site and stealing gemstones, the miner said Wednesday.

The perpetrators gained access to the sorting house on Tuesday and broke into the safe, stealing the emeralds inside it. They also took equipment and instruments, and ransacked the residential camp belonging to Web Gemstone Mining (WGM), the Gemfields subsidiary that owns the license to the project.

Additionally, a “significant” number of firearm-bearing illegal miners and handlers have penetrated the location, Gemfields added.

Police arrived on the scene and attempted to stop these activities, but became overwhelmed and abandoned the site, the company continued.

No Gemfields employees were hurt. Several perpetrators sustained injuries while breaking into the sorting house, a construction comprising 40-foot shipping containers.

In June, a 300- to 500-person mob overran the site, resulting in injuries to two company employees. Gemfields believes the mob was spurred by a faction seeking a portion of WGM’s license.

WGM continues to work with local and national authorities in an attempt to prevent further attacks.
Tags: emerald, Ethiopia, Gemfields, Gemfields Group, Rapaport News, Web Gemstone Mining, WGM
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