London-based mining company Gemfields announced last Wednesday that it had raised US$1.47 million from a recent auction of commercial and lower grade rubies, reports AIM.
Held from 11 to 13 September, the auction sold a total of 174 kg of gems (869,862 carats) with an average sale price of US$1.70 per carat. A July auction of rough rubies of higher quality from the same mine netted an average price of over US$265 per carat.
A representative from Gemfields noted that the auction results “highlight again that the market remains very healthy.” Gemfields owns a 75 percent stake in the mine operator, Montepuez Ruby Mining Ltd. (MRM), while the remaining 25 percent is owned by the Mozambican geological exploration company Mwiriti.
Discovered in 2009, the Montepuez deposit is considered one of the most significant ruby fields in the world. MRM was formed in 2011 and given a 25-year concession over an area of 33,600 hectares in Montepuez, located in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
It began holding auctions in 2014 and, to date, has raised US$980 million from the sale of rubies and other gems mined in Montepuez.
Despite the mine operator being majority-owned by a British company, much of that money has gone back to Mozambique. As Gemfields stressed at the most recent auction, proceeds will be “fully repatriated to MRM in Mozambique, with all royalties due to the government of the Republic of Mozambique being paid on the full sales price achieved at the auction.”