Richland Resources invests $1.8m in sapphire project
INTERNATIONAL miner Richland Resources has gambled $1.8 million on its own game of stones, buying the Nardoo sapphire project at the Gemfields.
Richland, a coloured gemstone specialist, has two mining leases granted in April covering about 494 hectares with a measured resource of 109 million carats of sapphires.
The company was forced to look for new opportunities when it failed to stop illegal mining at its tanzanite operation in Africa.
Last month, Richland exercised its option for the acquisition of the Nardoo project, previously mined by Australis Mining Corporation in 2005-06 when 2.29 million carats were produced.
"Nardoo presents Richland with an opportunity to start producing high quality sapphires within a relatively short timeframe," said Richland Resources chief executive Bernard Olivier, who intends to establish a major sapphire hub for production to begin within nine months.
Mr Olivier said that the value of sapphires with proven provenance was high and the company intended to sell certificated Richland stones through its various existing sales channels.
The company is focusing on fancy stones above 10 carats from the mine, east of Sapphire.
During the 11 months of previous mining, finds included a 63-carat dark blue sapphire, a 41-carat fancy-colour sapphire, a 33-carat yellow green sapphire, a 31-carat blue sapphire and a 20-carat green sapphire.
"Single-origin supply of commercial colours and quantities are difficult to find due to blending in the wholesale and polishing markets," Mr Olivier said.
"Richland has the expertise to apply first-rate mining practices to a proven sapphire resource and create a platform to supply consistent quantities of source-assured, ethical gemstones to major international buyers for mine-to-market assured supply chains."