Leading emerald traders have called on foreign investors to support mining of the precious gem in the Boyaca department in central Colombia.
According to El Espectador, recent studies show that only 7% of the potential deposits have been mined in the area, which is famous for having the best quality emeralds in the world.
“We want foreign investors to come to this area and see the potential and the advantages of helping us mine the immense emerald deposits,” said Jose Buitrago, a leading businessman from the region.
The industry requires rapid modernization because the mines need to go to deeper and deeper in order to exploit the mineral reserves.
“There is a lot of land to work, there are many possibilities, but we do not have the economic or technological capacity to expand so we need investors to come and give us a hand,” explained Buitrago.
Colombian land has been mined for emeralds since before the Spanish conquest and the export trade generated about $180 million in 2008, according to official figures.
The business has recently gone through a difficult period because of a rise in chemically engineered fake stones. Even so, Victor Carranza, the so-called “Tsar” of Colombian emeralds, said that business “is getting better,” and the presence of international entrepreneurs in the Boyaca area points to future development in the industry.