Archive | Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire, Gemstone Mining

Colombia moves to put emeralds on a par with Roquefort – by Gideon Long (Financial Times – November 9, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Coscuez, Colombia –  Roquefort cheese, Scotch whisky, Cornish pasties and Spanish serrano ham are foods with one thing in common: they are all protected by appellation of origin.

Until now, this protection has been granted mostly to food and drink. The French have their appellation d’origine contrôlée to stop imposters passing off cheap plonk as Bordeaux; Italy’s denominazione di origine protetta safeguards everything from Parmesan to balsamic vinegar from Modena.

Now, Colombia wants to do something similar with its emeralds. The country’s miners are seeking appellation of origin (AO) status for their green gemstones. If they succeed, not only would Colombian emeralds become the first precious gemstones in the world to be protected on the basis of origin, but the move could also transform an industry that was once a vipers’ nest of lawlessness. Only Mexican amber from Chiapas, considered a semi-precious stone, has similar status. Continue Reading →

Giant 5,655-carat emerald crystal with ‘golden green hue’ discovered by miners – by Jennifer Earl (Fox News – October 31, 2018)

https://www.foxnews.com/

A massive emerald crystal was unearthed in the world’s largest emerald mine in Zambia in early October. Geologist Debapriya Rakshit and experienced miner Richard Kapeta uncovered the impressive 5,655-carat emerald inside the largest open-pit mine in Kagem, which is partially owned by Gemfields — a London-based mining company. The gemstones inside the mine reportedly formed hundreds of millions of years ago.

The 5,655-carat Zambian emerald crystal has “remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue,” Gemfields described in a Monday news release. It was spotted on Oct. 2 in the eastern part of the Kagem mine, where a team of miners has found luck in the past few months.

“This area of the mine has proven to be particularly fertile in recent months with the Kagem team recovering several significant crystals there, but none with the combined size, color and clarity of the Lion Emerald,” the mining company said. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Eradicating A Centuries Old Gender Barrier/First-Ever All-Female Emerald Mining Team Launched by FURA Gems (October 29, 2018)

Women in Colombia Take a Big Leap Forward in Male Dominated Industry

At the second World Emerald Symposium in Bogota this month, Fura Gems launched its All-Female Wash Plant Project, the first of its kind not only in the gemstone industry, but also in the mining sector.

Traditionally, women in West Boyaca have contributed to emerald mining as barequeras, washing tailings to find rough emerald, but until now had only been employed for formal work in areas such as general services, (kitchen and cleaning) at the Coscuez Emerald Mine.

Women in West Boyaca led the charge by expressing the desire to take a more active role in emerald mining – seeking out employment from Fura Gems.

The women working in the wash plant completed a safety and mining competencies course in their initial months at Fura Gems. They have also been trained to wash, sort, and grade emeralds at a temporary facility, with a modernized installation being prepared for Q1 of 2019. Continue Reading →

Illegal miners try their luck in Mozambique ruby rush (News24.com – October 7, 2018)

https://www.news24.com/

Deep inside a forest, sweating men haul earth out of rough excavation holes and carry it in bags on their backs to a stream. Then they sift for the small, red stones that could make their fortune – miners say they have sold single rubies for thousands of dollars, many times the local monthly wage which is typically under $200.

In northern Mozambique, informal – and illegal – ruby mining is a tough business that has attracted thousands of itinerant workers despite strenuous crackdowns by police and private guards.

The ruby deposits, which were discovered only nine years ago, are relatively accessible in shallow ground, triggering the sudden birth of a frantic wildcat mining industry. Continue Reading →

Mozambique’s Ruby Mining Goes From ‘Wild West’ to Big Business – by Matthew Hill and Borges Nhamire (Bloomberg News – August 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Sebastiao Pedro struck it lucky in 2014 when, as a 21-year-old small-scale miner, he found a large red ruby in northern Mozambique. He sold it to a buyer from Vietnam for $43,000, returned to his family 900 miles away and built a house with the proceeds. Then the money ran out.

This year he went back to Montepuez, home to the world’s biggest known ruby deposit, hoping to find another small fortune. He was disappointed. A crackdown by the authorities has seen thousands of local diggers and traders arrested.Hundreds of others from as far away as Thailand have been deported.

“The situation is difficult because the police have been sending people away and the concession areas are full of company security and we can no longer work,” Pedro said as he and five fellow diggers in dust-stained clothes scratched around in the gravel beside a small dam. Continue Reading →

Sapphire secrets: they aren’t all blue, and mining them requires luck plus labour – by Lynda Lawson (The Conversation – August 8, 2018)

https://theconversation.com/

Lynda Lawson receives funding from Tiffany and Co Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) , a German development agency.

I first remember seeing sapphires as a teenager in a jeweller’s shop in Silver Street in pre-Khmer Rouge Phnom Penh – the deep saturated blues of the gems from Palin on the border with Thailand were captivating. The sapphires my father bought that day are still in the family long after any trace of Silver Street has disappeared.

It was not until recently when I met a female sapphire miner in Madagascar that I began to appreciate the hard labour involved in the mining of these stones across Africa and Asia. Sapphires are crystals of the mineral corundum, made up mostly of atoms of aluminium and oxygen in a 2 to 3 ratio (Al₂0₃).

The chemical bonds of aluminium and oxygen are particularly tight, making the sapphire one of the hardest minerals known – 9 out of 10 on a measure of hardness used for minerals known as Moh’s scale. Sapphires are second to diamonds in hardness. Continue Reading →

Swedish royal jewels stolen by thieves who fled by speedboat – by Euan McKirdy, Joshua Berlinger and Rory Smith (CNN.com – August 1, 2018)

https://www.cnn.com/

(CNN)Thieves stole priceless royal artifacts in a daring raid on a Swedish cathedral before escaping by speedboat, police said. The thieves made off with jewels belonging to former Swedish monarchs Karl IX and Kristina from the Strängnäs Cathedral to the west of the capital, Stockholm, on Tuesday.

Two crowns and a golden orb adorned with a crucifix were taken from the cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, according to a police report. The items date from the early 17th century.

A witness told Swedish media that he was eating lunch when he saw two people running toward a boat, which they sped away in. Continue Reading →

Myanmar jade industry gathers dust despite China-led boom – by Thurein Hla Htway and Yuichi Nitta (Nikkei Asian Review – July 19, 2018)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

NAYPYITAW — The jade mining industry in Myanmar, one of the world’s richest sources of the gem, is scrambling to meet rising Chinese demand, sometimes at the cost of human lives.

Yet this booming trade has not translated into growth beyond the dangerous work of extraction. In fact, Myanmar’s jade processing industry has languished, mainly owing to a lack of capital.

During the annual legal trade exhibition last month in Naypyitaw, the country’s capital, 423 million euros ($493 million) of the ornamental green stone was sold, 21.4% more than last year. Continue Reading →

Welcome to White Cliffs: The outback opal mining town so hot locals live underground to escape the blistering heat and face a 300km trek to the supermarket – but they love the peace and quiet – by Belinda Cleary (Daily Mail Australia – April 8, 2018)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Welcome to White Cliffs, the tiny Australian desert town where people live underground to escape the blistering summer sun. The town is a ‘mixed bag’ according to the locals – there’s everyone from war veterans escaping the horrors of Vietnam and Afghanistan to retired policemen and of course, opal miners who dream of getting rich.

Just 100 people live in the tiny town, which is 1000 kilometres north-west of Sydney and 300km from the nearest supermarket. In summer, the temperature soars to almost 50 degrees, and from above the land appears flat, hostile and unlivable.

Some estimate there are about 50,000 disused holes created by hopeful Opal miners, searching for a rock to seal their fortune – this hope left the land looking similar to the surface of the moon from above. Continue Reading →

Tanzania president inaugurates wall around gem mines (Straits Times – April 7, 2018)

http://www.straitstimes.com/

NAIROBI (AFP) – Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday (April 6) inaugurated a 24-kilometre around the country’s tanzanite mines to prevent smuggling of the precious violet-blue stones, which are unique to the East African country.

Magufuli in September ordered the army to build the wall around the mines, located in the Mererani hills near Mount Kilimanjaro.

Several metres high, the mustard-yellow wall has only one entrance, which is secured by the army. It cost 1.8 million euros (S$2.9 million), according to official figures. Continue Reading →

On the trail of rubies and gems … – by Phyo Wai Kyaw (Myanmar Times – March 23, 2018)

https://www.mmtimes.com/

It is widely believed that depending on sheer luck, some gemstone miners strike it rich without any effort on their part, while others spend their lifetime in the mines unable to find even one valuable gem

When asked which period he misses the most during his mining career in Mogok, U Aung Than, without any hesitation, answered it was during the mid 1970s and around 1990s. In an exclusive interview last week, he described those thriving times as ‘illegal’ and ‘black marketing’ periods.

U Aung Than, who is now 58 years old, is from Maing Thar ethnic group and grew up in Mogok’s mining area since he was a teen. During the British rule, due to scarcity of labor in the mining companies, Shan-Chinese ethnics called Maing Thar, who were industrious and were from the Myanmar-China border, were given jobs, and since that time they were working as miners in Mogok. Continue Reading →

The search for more responsible rubies – by Joshua Carroll (Frontier Myanmar – February 13, 2018)

https://frontiermyanmar.net/

BEFORE SHE arrived in Mogok, Ms Amber Cernov was wary of the horror stories she’d heard about the secretive ruby mining region. Foreigners are usually denied access to the town in northern Mandalay Region and she had pictured a grim landscape ravaged by military-owned companies, hidden from the world. But when she finally stepped foot in the resource-rich valley she was pleasantly surprised.

“You think it’s going to be Mordor and it’s not,” said Cernov as she sat behind the counter at her small but sleek store in downtown Yangon.

“Mogok is actually a very beautiful town,” she adds. “Yes, you can see the scars from mining… so I’m not saying there’s no negative environmental impact, but I was quite surprised at how much better it looked than my expectations.” Continue Reading →

Gemfields transparent, proactive in rebutting rights allegations – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – February 12, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Coloured gemstones company Gemfields has been transparently proactive in rebutting claims of human rights abuses in Mozambique, where it mines rubies.

“We’ve voluntarily elected to issue this statement,” Gemfields, headed by CEO Sean Gilbertson, commented in a release on Monday about UK-based law firm Leigh Day filing a claim in the High Court of England and Wales against Gemfields and its subsidiary, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), on behalf of 29 individuals living near the MRM ruby mining licence area in northern Mozambique.

The company stated in the release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online that the court process had not yet commenced on account of the claim filed not yet being served on Gemfields or MRM. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues (International Institute for Environmental and Development – January 22, 2018)

http://www.iisd.org/

For the entire report: https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/igf-asm-global-trends.pdf

Global Trends in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM): A review of key numbers and issues was prepared by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (IGF).

ASM has experienced explosive growth in recent years due to the rising value of mineral prices and the increasing difficulty of earning a living from agriculture and other rural activities. An estimated 40.5 million people were directly engaged in ASM in 2017, up from 30 million in 2014, 13 million in 1999 and 6 million in 1993. That compares with only 7 million people working in industrial mining in 2014.

ASM is generally pursued as a route out of poverty or as an activity to complement insufficient income, especially in communities where alternative employment is hard to come by. ASM is also a very diverse sector. Its main challenges vary from region to region—and often from site to site. Continue Reading →

Colombian Emerald Industry: Winds of Change – by Darwin Fortaleché, Andrew Lucas, Jonathan Muyal, Tao Hsu, and Pedro Padua (Gems and Gemology – Fall 2017)

https://www.gia.edu/

Colombia is synonymous with fine emerald, and production is believed to date back well over a thousand years. Over the centuries the beautiful verdant gemstone, which emerges from areas that are also a lush green, has been linked to violence and human exploitation. Nevertheless, the desire of the Colombian people to mine for this treasure and strike it rich has endured, with enough dreams coming true to drive their passion.

In recent years, industry changes have accelerated, perhaps more profoundly than ever before. While government ownership and regulation, criminal activity, and violence have affected production over the years, the industry’s greatest opportunities may still be ahead. Multinational companies are investing heavily in Colombian emerald mining, which has led to modernization.

The government’s position on emerald mining has also improved dramatically in this period. Calls for transparency and traceability have led to branding and a revamping of the industry’s image. The loose system of independent miners (figure 1) is seeing efforts at formalization. These landmark changes are occurring at a time when most of the country’s emerald reserves have yet to be mined. Continue Reading →