Coloured gemstone producer Fura Gems announced that it has begun initial production and bulk sampling at its Coscuez emerald mine in Colombia. Chief Executive Dev Shetty commented that the company had achieved an important milestone by beginning bulk sampling within eight weeks of acquiring the mine.
Shetty observed, “The initial production of 1,720 carats of emeralds, including 826 carats of top quality emeralds, during the early stage of the program further confirms the quality of the mine. We will continue to build our geological knowledge of the license area and also strive to modernise the mine. Fura has now become the first publicly listed company in the world to commence a bulk sampling operation in Colombia, the world’s largest supplier of emeralds.”
Fura owns a 76 percent interest in the Coscuez mine, which covers a total area of 46 hectares. Data from the bulk sampling program will be modelled to better understand the mineralised ore grade and prepare a mining plan.
The Coscuez mine has been in operation for over 400 years. It is recognised worldwide as it has produced renowned pieces like the 1,759 carat Guinness Emerald, believed to be one of the largest gem-quality crystals; the pieces found in the Spanish crown, as well as collections from India and the Ottoman Empire, and others which continue to be discovered in diverse archaeological findings such as the San Jose galleon.
The mine has historically been operated on a small-scale basis with the development of various tunnels over the license area. A total of 40 tunnels were created at various levels but the previous owners mainly focused on the La Paz tunnel. Mining operations were carried out very traditionally and on a small-scale basis with the focus being on chiselling of calcite veins post blasting.