JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The recovery of first sapphire gemstones has started at coloured gemstone miner and retailer Richland Resources’ Capricorn sapphire mine, in Queensland, Australia.
As the Aim-quoted company processed the first concentrate at its purpose-built alluvial processing plant, with a blue and coloured sapphire mix expected, staggered ramp-up to full commercial production was under way.
“I am very pleased to report that commercial production of sapphires has commenced following ten months of intensive mine construction and development work. We will now conduct a staggered production ramp-up at the mine over the coming months,” commented Richland CEO Bernard Olivier.
The ramp-up to full production of the mine, which had a processing plant capable of treating up to 200 loose cubic metres an hour, would occur over the next few months to “test and optimise” all mining circuits under production mining conditions.
Richland had started the initial mining phase within a one-acre area that had been subjected to a 633 m, 57-hole, first-phase infill drilling campaign to confirm and expand the data from a 2004-established Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource.
“The infill drilling enabled the formulation of the current mine design and scheduling to the maximisation of mining efficiencies … [and] allows for accurate modelling of overburden depths and gravel thicknesses as well as bedrock profiling,” Olivier said.
The first sapphire sales under the Capricorn Sapphire brand would be held at a Hong Kong-based sight late in June to coincide with the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.