COLOMBIA – Less than a year after acquiring a 76% stake in the Coscuez emerald mine, Fura Gems has completed a maiden resource estimate that puts the potential mine life of the project at 30 years.
The company mapped more than 20 km of underground tunnels, drilled more than 1,600 metres and recovered nearly 16,000 carats of emeralds from bulk samples that resulted in an inferred resource of 3 million tonnes grading 2 carats per tonne for 6 million contained carats.
The study was based on a price of US$200 per carat.
Fura’s current mine plan is targeting 105,000 t/y by underground mining methods.
The bulk sample produced 15,864 carats (plus emeralds contained in rocks) from 2,242 tonnes processed through October.
The Coscuez mine has produced some of the best emeralds from Colombia’s Muzo region for more than 300 years, according to a technical report in November 2017, which also estimates that Colombian emeralds account for nearly 70% to 90% of the world’s emerald market.
Coscuez is in the San Pablo de Borbur municipality of the Boyacá district. Boyacá is in the Andean Region in central Colombia, over the Eastern Cordillera mountain range, and covers a total area of 23,189 km2.
The license has been granted for an initial period of 30 years, expiring in December 2020. Extensions can be negotiated with the government for up to 30 additional years, according to the technical report.
Fura acquired its stake in the project by acquiring 76% of the shares of Esmecaol S.A., which owns the 43-hectare licence.
Fura Gems was founded by former executives of Gemfields Group, the world’s largest emerald and ruby producer.
Prior to incorporating Fura in January 2017, president and CEO Dev Shetty was Gemfields’ chief operating officer and a member of the company’s board of directors.
“Our focus is to scale up the production from this iconic emerald mine,” Shetty wrote in an email to The Northern Miner.
The company will have to deal with the hundreds of artisanal miners in the region who have hunted for emeralds in Coscuez’s existing network of tunnels for decades, however.
Shetty doesn’t think that will be a problem.
“It is Fura’s duty to close down the tunnels that are not safe and doesn’t provide any environment to work,” Shetty said. “We are following the work schedule given by the license agency. Fura has received 96% acceptances from the local community for the project and we continue to maintain the percentage and want to increase it.”
Fura is headquartered in Dubai.
The company’s shares have traded within a 52-week range of 30¢ and $1.13 and at press time were 35¢ apiece.
The junior has 134.4 million shares outstanding for a market cap of $46.4 million.
This story first appeared on www.NorthernMiner.com.