Gemstone miner Richland Resources' results affected by illegal mining

Precious coloured gem miner Richland Resources (LON: RLD) announced in its first quarter for the year a tanzanite output of 788,198 carats with an average grade of 97 carats per tonne, reports The Telegraph.

This was an improvement over the same period last year when the company extracted 533,400 carats with an average grade of 51 carats, although, a slight decrease from the last quarter of 2011.

Additionally, the company reported sales of $4 million for the quarter.

Illegal mining is seriously affecting its Tanzania operations, Richland said in a statement on the Proactive Investors UK site, resulting in a significant decrease in quality and value of miner gemstones.

Recently, the company signed up state-run STAMICO for a 50% stake in its licence in the hope the government partnership would result in action on curbing illegal mining.

Tanzanite, a blue-purple gemstone, can only be found in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Richland said its tsavorite project in Tanzania had produced some initial bulk sampling that was encouraging. It has recovered some bright, clear gems between 2 mm and 8 mm in size.

Tsavorite is a brilliant green stone which is a variety of grossular garnet. It can be found in Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania.

Image: Didier Descouens via Wikimedia Commons