With challenges of mining in countries where bribery and corruption, land rights, environmental impacts and sustainable development are either endemic or require extremely sensitive handling, it is still a long way to go for the globally accepted regulation and standards that needs to be developed for the sustainability as the key part in the colored gemstone sector.
With the main focus of environmental, social, human rights, labor and product responsibility Gemfields started its journey in 2009 Zambian emeralds mine and then 2014 with the Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique. Since then by achieving the best possible world market prices, repatriating revenue, paying taxes and royalties, employing local people and supporting communities, Gemfields has proven its role as the world’s most recognizable and responsible gemstone mining company. The reserve estimation of Montepuez Ruby Mining is 467 million carats of indicated & probable resource & 432 million carats of probable mineral reserve for a projected life of 21 years.
On day 1 of the trip – the management team introduced themselves to the press team from Dubai. With a prepared powerpoint presentation, the press team gained the basic knowledge of ruby and the world’s most important ruby deposit, Montepuez ruby mining that is owned by Gemfields for 75% and 25% by the local partner company M’Wiriti Lda.
With the mining license issued in the name of MRM, which is valid for 25 years, Montepuez Ruby Mining Lda holds a concession of 340 sq. km in the wider Montepuez ruby-mineralised area, exceeding 1,000 sq. km. With its first discovery of ruby in 2009, the company has turned into a large-scale mining with its expertise in geology, capital investment (exploration, processing, sorting and grading) and international marketing campaigns to market the product and raise the inherent and monetary value.
To secure the potential mineralized zone for a bulk sampling the first phase of drilling in different holes has been conducted in the Mugloto area where the core drilling continues with both in house and contract drilling. This production operation is a costly investment since this includes heavy mining machinery and maintenance etc.
With a site visit to the drilling area and touching the sampling, it is clear that a deeper study and expertise is essential for such multidisciplinary approach – geological, geophysical and geochemical method. The Montepuez Complex comprises of rocks, ranging from granitic to amphibolitic in composition, with quartzites and marble at places. The rocks of the Montepuez Complex are strongly folded into tight and isoclinal folds on all scales, and have later been cut. From the part of the sampling, you can see a shiny pink coloured stones from various sizes.
To process these stones, a wash plant has been installed where the stones are washed and filtered before delivered into the sort house. With a high intensity of security the sort house is the location where the local gemologists sort and grade the stones into different categories. Concentrated gravel is sorted by hand in a highly secure environment by the team who work 5 days a week. Gemfields has developed the world’s first grading system for rough rubies which was widely praised when presented at auction.
On the second day, the press team discovered further CSR initiatives of the Montepuez ruby mining with an objective to ensure that the local community benefits from the presence of MRM, in a way that is both sustainable and meaningful.
The MRM Community Development Strategy (MRM-CDS) has been created to enhance the socio-economic standards of the surrounding communities. MRM ensures that its relationship with the host community is integrated, transparent, trustworthy and delivered upon that is evidenced, based on regular engagement and communication.
Moreover it reinforces MRM’s reputation with the host communities and the local and provincial Government. It also develops and implements best practices by enabling Gemfields to refer to the activities of the local mining operation as an example of best practice in an international sphere/context to maximize marketing/PR and positive communication. To start with MRM-
CDS is being framed for 3 years period, such as development of the chicken farm and a school for the skill development and agricultural contribution with the local farmers in the community etc. After visiting each place, the press team also planted lemon trees in the area which made the trip more meaningful and memorable. It is crucial for Gemfields to benefit the local community who are its neighbors, policy-makers, regulators, special interest groups and with its supply chain partners.
According to the Mr.Dev Shetty who is the COO of the company, the guidance of its CSR approach comes from a wide range of external standards as well as taking inspiration from peers in the mining and jewelry sectors.It is clear for the company working towards a long-term, sustainable and integrity-driven licence to operate.Thus the company has become the pioneers of a new concept where mining, marketing, exploration and ethics meet by delivering a consistent supply of professionally-graded, uncut colored gemstones to world markets through a program of private auctions.
In response to strong demand for consistent and trusted sources of supply of cut and polished colored gemstones, we also opened a division specialising in the sale of cut and polished gemstones which has been met with great enthusiasm on both sides of the supply chain.
Moreover, Montepuez ruby mining was recognised as the highest tax paying mining company in the province in 2014 (approx. 33 mio./year). All the auction results are published to show the transparency from the mine to market and from the part of revenue of the ‘Rhino Ruby’ has been given for the cause of anti-rhino-poaching aircraft operated by Game Reserves United as well as the part of revenue from the latest sale of the ‘Eyes of the Dragon’ has been committed to provide support for the Niassa Lion Project in northern Mozambique.
This Summer, Gemfields unveils ‘Ruby Inspired Stories’, a triptych of films featuring up-and- coming global female talent, each exploring the hidden meaning behind these captivating gemstones. A long-established part of myth and tradition, and true to Gemfields’ core belief that there is ‘A Story in Every Gemstone’, rubies are said to represent passion, protection and prosperity.
Exploring the meaning of these three motifs in a contemporary world, the films celebrate the passion, vibrancy and generosity of spirit possessed by women today. Offering a compelling glimpse of a pivotal moment in three women’s lives, the short films each follow an individual storyline, creating a collective picture of life as a modern woman in today’s world.
In recognition of Gemfields’ global expansion, the films feature talent from around the globe: actresses Sophie Cookson and Aditi Rao Hydari and model Grace Guozhi. Directed by award winning filmmaker Leonora Lonsdale, each film will be released in a 15, 30 and 60 second edit, supported by a global print and social media campaign. Featuring jewellery by Gyan, Fabergé and Chelsy Davy’s new brand, Aya, the films were premiered in London on the 22nd June in front of an exclusive audience.
Gemfields CEO; Ian Harebottle explains: “Rubies have been renowned for their magical properties since the beginning of civilisation. As a leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones, we wanted to explore how these beautiful and mysterious gemstones resonate with women today. The result is three very special films, each capturing a unique moment in every woman’s life in which she feels most in touch with her true self, whether that be in love, in following her own path, or in her commitment to her creative and professional dream.