Ruby auctions net Gemfields a record $95.6m

20th June 2022 By: Donna Slater - Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

Seven sequential mini-auctions of Gemfields’ rubies netted all-time-high auction revenues for the miner of $95.6-million, with average prices of $246.69/ct achieved – also a new record for any mixed-quality ruby auction.

The auctions, held in Bangkok between May 30 and June 17, contained a selection of grades that are typically offered at Montepuez Ruby Mining’s (MRM’s) auctions of mixed-quality rubies.

The specific auction mix and the quality of the lots offered at each auction vary in characteristics such as size, colour and clarity on account of variations in mined production and market demand.

As such, the results of each auction are not directly comparable.

Following viewings, the auctions took place through an online auction platform specifically adapted for Gemfields and which permitted customers from multiple jurisdictions to participate in a sealed-bid process.

The rough rubies were all extracted from the mining licence held and operated by MRM, which is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by Mozambican partner Mwiriti Limitada.

The proceeds of the auctions will be fully repatriated to MRM in Mozambique, with all royalties due to the government of Mozambique being paid on the full sales prices achieved at the auctions.

Of the 119 lots on offer, 112 were sold, while 63.5% of the carats on offer at the auction were sold.

However, Gemfields points out that one lot of 29 523.82 g, representing 24% of the total weight offered, remained unsold and, as a result, the average price per carat realised at the auction is considerably higher than it would have been had this lot also been sold.

The 16 auctions of MRM rubies, held since June 2014, have generated $827.1-million in total revenues.

Gemfields product and sales MD Adrian Banks says that, when combined with Kagem’s two emerald auctions so far this year, Gemfields’ auction revenue in the first half of the year stands at $181-million. This compares with the first-half record of $93-million, set in 2018.

“While we would caution that second-half revenues are unlikely to match the remarkable first half, [the most recent] auction results again underscore the extent of the step-change being experienced in the market,” he says.