Maputo — Armed robbers have murdered a security guard during a robbery at a ruby mine in Montepuez, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
According to Tuesday statement by the Australian mining company Mustang Resources, the break-in was of a "grab-and-run" nature and highly opportunistic. It added that the incident took place in the very early hours of the morning when the mine was closed.
The company revealed that a small safe containing low quality rubies was taken along with office equipment. It noted that 19,000 carats of rubies were in the safe at the time. These were due to be sold at an auction in Mauritius which begins on 27 October. However, despite the setback, the company is still on track to have more than 300,000 carats available at the sale.
In its statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Mustang explained that none of the larger safes containing higher value rubies were broken into. In addition, the company has a "proactive approach of removing stones from site as soon as possible" to reduce the security risk.
All the items stolen, Mustang added, "are adequately covered by insurance and insurance claims will be lodged as soon as possible".
Although it did not reveal the circumstances surrounding the guard's death, Mustang stated that its board of directors "will extend their deepest sympathies to his family at this very sad time and offer them the company's full support".
Mustang is working with the local community, police and government to find the thieves. It noted that it has strengthened security at the mine site and is "absolutely prioritising safety for our staff and security for the rubies".
Mustang's Montepuez Ruby Project consists of four licenses covering 19,300 hectares directly adjacent to the world's largest ruby deposit which is mined by Montepuez Ruby Mining Ltd.