Fura Gems has big plans for mining and marketing colour gemstones (emeralds and rubies), 90 per cent of which still remains unorganized and untapped. Excited about its acquisition of Coscuez mine in Colombia, President and CEO, Dev Shetty explains, ‘The first thing Fura wants to do is get into the ground and tell the real story about Colombia, not about the emeralds but about the country. We want people to get their perception about the region right.’
Fura Gems began its operations in Jan 2017. The company that is listed in Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada, acquired 4 licenses in Mozambique and the very prestigious Coscuez mine in Colombia in 2017. The production of rubies is expected to begin in July 2018 and the selling is slated for June 2019. Bulk sampling of emeralds has already begun in Colombia and the roughs are expected to hit the market in March 2019. The entire rough gemstone sector is worth $ 23 billion, of this $ 13 billion consists of diamonds. The second largest share of $4.5 billion surprisingly consists of jade, followed by $ 2 billion market share which comprises of emeralds, rubies and sapphires.
The venture is backed by Canadian private merchant bank Forbes & Manhattan whose core expertise has been metals with a particular interest in gold. Fura has managed to get Canadian $ 20 million in funding so far. The mine which is said to have a life of 20 years is expected to produce approximately 80 to 100,000 tonnes a year.
Though based in Dubai, Fura believes in a solid Indian presence from a marketing point of view. But that is not the only reason why the company is geared up about its Indian presence. Earlier discovered by Rio Tinto in 2004, the company is going to potentially bid for Bunder Diamonds in Madhya Pradesh. The project was withdrawn earlier by the mining conglomerate because of lack of approvals. However, Fura has been in talks with the government for the same and in June this year, the company expects the Government to throw the opportunity out open for players to bid. ‘We are considering this very seriously either independently or with a potential partner. We have presented our case to the government including all the inputs,’ said Dev. Exploration costs for the mine in the first year is earmarked at $ 50 million, followed by $14-15 million in the second year which is expected to turn cash-positive. The estimated resource of the mine is believed to be anywhere between 34-35 million carats and Dev added that the company will start with an output 1.5 – 2 million carats in the first few years.