World’s biggest ruby mine reports covid-19 outbreak

Montepuez is an open-pit mine, considered the world’s most lucrative ruby operation. (Image courtesy of Gemfields.)

The world’s biggest ruby mine, Gemfields’ Montepuez operation in northern Mozambique, has reported an outbreak of coronavirus.

The company had already placed the operation under care and maintenance in April due to the pandemic, and on July 12 “a few” employees carrying out critical work tested positive, Gemfields said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

Most were asymptomatic and are in self-isolation, the company said.

Montepuez, the world’s richest known ruby deposit, is located in the impoverished northern Cabo Delgado province. The region is at the epicenter of Mozambique’s covid-19 outbreak. The pandemic is another setback for the province, following an increase in attacks by insurgents linked to Islamic State.

(With files from Reuters)

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