Ratnapura Lanka Gemstones Pvt Ltd (RLGPL), a subsidiary of Gemfields plc, a world leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones, is pleased to announce the shortlisting ofpreferred suppliers in response to the call for expressions of interest from licensed mining companies and registered gem dealers in Sri Lanka.
Following the announcement in July this year that Gemfields was seeking to establish an organized supply chain in the market, a number of artisanal miners and other stakeholders responded and offered to participate in the process. After preliminary screening,a number of interested parties were shortlisted for further assessment, of which the final few were selected for the initial phase.
Selection was based on responsible sourcing credentials and in accordance with Gemfields’ global sourcing policy.Amongst the companies selected as preferred bidders are;Ashkar Gems, Weslow Gems and Diamonds, Mushan Gems and Lapidary, SGH Gems (Supreme Global Holdings) and Ceylon Facets.
It is intended that Gemfields will offer support to the Sri Lankan gemstone industry through its technical capabilities, proprietary grading systems and marketing methodologies. Through working with the sepreferred partners, Gemfields intends to establish a supply chain which would help grow the sector and contribute to national economic development through the payment of rightful royalties, taxes and forex.
Ian Harebottle, CEO Gemfields commented; “Sri Lanka is already world-renowned for the quality of its gemstones and we are confident that our proven expertise will augment the established market there, benefitting the local mining community and the Sri Lankan gemstone industry as a whole.”
Mr. Mubarak, third-generation gem expert and Director of shortlisted company Ashkar Gems,said that it is a pleasure to serve as a supplier to one of the world’s leading gemstone companies, adding;“As a trader, miner or investor, I have been practicing ethical sourcing for more than 3 years and being shortlisted by Gemfields who are leaders in this field is a true milestone in my career.”
A selection of the others who were selected through this process,also commented:
Director of Weslow Gems and Diamonds, Mr. Gamini Wettasinghe from Balangoda, a veteran with 30 years of trading experience,foresees that local traders will gain a better price for their stones. Mr Wettasinghe explained his opinion that at present the industry is dominated and enjoyed bya limited few and can be unfair to small scale, innocent workers. Establishment of this supply chain will help to improve the foreign exchange of the country and will help to prevent poverty among the smaller players who are engaged in this industry.
Partner of Mushan Gems, Ratnapura, Mr Bimal praised Gemfields’‘ethical and transparent’methods and added that Mushan Gems is happy to be part of aglobal business that operates responsibly. Mr.S.Fonseka, chairman of Ceylon Facets,Ratnapura who has over 25 years’ experience in the industry, celebrated the joining of the preferred supplier list and added that the business is now looking forward to Sri Lankan gemstones accessing the world markets.
Mr. Kanchana Kodituwakku Director Public Relations of SGH Gems, a subsidiaryof Colombo-based company Supreme Global Holdings, added:“It is a pleasure to be selected to work with such an esteemed organization such as Gemfields. We are looking forward to a long lasting business relationship that will bring benefit to the Sri Lankan gemstone industry as a whole.”