Canada-listed Fura Gems (TSX-V:FUR), a new gemstone mining and marketing company headed by the former COO of Gemfields (LON:GEM), has kicked off initial production at its Coscuez emerald mine in Colombia.
The early output of 1,720 carats of emeralds, including 826 carats of top quality ones, was achieved through a bulk-sampling program carried out within eight weeks of the completing the acquisition of the mine, which Fura grabbed from Gemfields in October.
The company, which began operations almost a year ago, in May 2017, said the quality gems found during the early stages of bulk sampling at Coscuez, confirmed the worth of the emerald mine.
“We will continue to build our geological knowledge of the license area and also strive to modernize Coscuez,” President and chief executive Dev Shetty said.
Through the bulk sampling program Fura expects to collect 30,000 tonnes of material from the mineralized body on or before the end of the year, using existing tunnels.
The main goal, the company said, is to gather the most representative samples from the mineralized body at different levels from all accessible tunnels and workings within Coscuez.
Located in the mountainous department of Boyacá, Coscuez is probably one of the best-known emerald deposits in the world. Shetty told MINING.com last month that the mine produced over 95% of Colombia’s emerald supply in the 1970s.
The country’s production of green gemstones dropped from its world-leading position in the early 2000’s with 10 million carats a year to 2.6 million a decade later, losing ground to Zambia and Brazil, mainly as a result of social conflict, violence and instability triggered by drug lords. But since a final peace agreement signed in 2016, foreign companies are once again landing in the country, which is still the world’s largest supplier of emeralds in terms of value.