19 June 2014

Mozambique: Auction of Mozambican Rubies Nets U.S.$33.5 Million

Maputo — The British company Gemfields announced on Wednesday that the inaugural auction in Singapore of rubies from its Mozambican partner, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), raised 33.5 million US dollars.

The uncut stones were sold in an auction that ran from 12 to 17 June. A Gemfields press release claimed the market “reacted enthusiastically” to the Mozambican rubies, with a strong attendance by potential buyers at the auction.

Gemfields took 2.03 million carats of rubies and corundum to Singapore in 62 batches. Corundum is an extremely abrasive crystalline form of aluminium oxide, and rubies are corundum stones that are coloured between pink and blood red.

57 of the 62 batches were sold - with a total weight of 1.82 million carats (90 per cent of the total weight). One carat is 200 milligrams. The auction resulted in an average price of 18.43 dollars per carat.

The chief executive officer of Gemfields, Ian Harebottle, cited in the release, said that the full results of the Singapore auction would be repatriated to Mozambique and to MRM (in which Gemfields has a 75 per cent holding). He pledged that the royalties to be paid to the Mozambican state “will be in line with the total sales at the auction”.

Many of the buyers were from Thailand and were participating in a Gemfields auction for the first time. Other came from the United States, Germany, India and Israel, among other

Gemfields describes itself as the world's largest producer of coloured gemstones. It has previously specialized in Zambian emeralds and amethysts, and has now branched out into Mozambican rubies.

At a Maputo press conference in early June, Harebottle predicted that the MDM ruby mines in Montepuez would become one of Mozambique's largest taxpayers. He said that up until 2013 seven million carats of rubies had been mined.

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