JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Coloured gemstones miner Gemfields earned $29.3-million from the sale of rubies mined at its Montepuez deposit, in Mozambique.
The Aim-listed company’s fourth auction of rough rubies from Montepuez, saw 46 companies placing bids, with the auction realising an average price of $617/ct.
The auction, which took place from June 16 to 21, in Singapore, was only the second comprised predominantly of higher-quality rubies and all 46 lots offered at the auction were on an untreated basis.
Twenty-eight of the 46 lots offered were sold, indicating that “there are further opportunities to educate the market on our products for the market to fully appreciate the rarity and value of all of the gems from Montepuez”, the company said in a statement.
The proceeds of the auction would be repatriated to the Mozambique-based mine, with royalties owed to the Mozambique government being paid on the full sales price achieved at the auction.
Gemfields said an “exceptional and rare” matching pair of rough rubies recovered at Montepuez earlier this month, was a highlight of the auction. With a combined weight of 45 ct, the matching pair were bought by the renowned ruby house, Veerasak Gems of Thailand.
“Demand for fine gems remains very healthy and the prices obtained are in line with our expectations when compared to the previous high-quality [ruby] auction. Although there has been some softening in demand for certain darker tone and lower-quality grades, in our view, these grades offer remarkable value right now.
“We believe that this value can be unlocked in the near term through further market education and communication, as shown by the price performance of our similar quality emeralds auctioned from Kagem in recent years,” Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle said.
RUBIES FOR CONSERVATION
Discovery of the matching pair of rubies, which were named Eyes of the Dragon, prompted Montepuez Ruby Mining to commit to providing support for the Niassa Lion Project in the Niassa National Reserve (NNR), in northern Mozambique, an area of profound importance for the global conservation of African wildlife, especially for the African lion, wild dog and elephant.
Larger than Switzerland, the NNR is home to more than 35 000 people across 40 villages and encounters between villagers and wildlife posed a serious threat to both. The Niassa Lion Project was committed to hiring and training Niassa residents as team members, providing advanced schooling through scholarships and mentoring young Mozambique conservationists.