March 22, 2018
Dev Shetty, President & CEO of Fura, commented:
“Fura has achieved an important milestone by commencing the bulk sampling mining operation at the Coscuez emerald mine within eight weeks of the completing the acquisition of the mine”.
“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 Coscuez emerald mine. We will continue to build our geological knowledge of the license area and also strive to modernize the Coscuez emerald 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”.
About the Colombia Emerald Mine
The Coscuez Emerald Mine license covers an area of 46 hectares and includes exclusive rights for the exploration, construction and mining of emerald deposits granted by the Government of the Republic of Colombia. The Coscuez Emerald Mine is located within the area historically known as the “Coscuez Mine” in the municipality of San Pablo de Borbur, Department of Boyacá.
The Coscuez Emerald Mine has been in operation for over 400 years. It is recognized 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.
Historically, the Coscuez Emerald Mine has 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 at the 900RL level (Zero level), – 88m below La Paz and -120m below La Paz. The mining operations were carried out very traditionally and on a small-scale basis with the focus being on chiseling of calcite – veins post blasting.
Bulk Sampling Program
Prior to Fura’s acquisition of the Coscuez Emerald Mine, the previous management used small-scale underground mining methods, such as blasting of the mineralization zone within the carbonaceous shale, chiseling of the calcite veins within the carbonaceous shale and focusing on the manual extraction of emeralds present on the calcite veins. The mine has historically been operated using non-mechanized methods without a wash-plant for the washing of the mined mineralized body or recording of grade and tons mined.
Immediately after the acquisition of the Coscuez Emerald Mine by Fura, detailed geological and topographic survey programs were initiated and to date, 24 historical workable tunnels consisting of 17km have been surveyed and a total of 23km have been mapped. This survey has provided Fura with valuable information about the geology and the definition of the mineralized body.
The Bulk Sampling Program was initiated the second week of February 2018 and Fura plans to mine a total of 30,000 tons of material as a part of this program. The program will be completed in two phases and will continue until 31 December 2018. The first phase of the sampling will focus on the area below the La Paz tunnel and the second phase will focus on the area over the La Paz tunnel, covering most of the known mineralized body.
The main purpose of a Bulk Sampling Program is to collect representative samples from the mineralized body at different levels from all accessible tunnels and workings within the license area. The data collected from the program will then be modeled to understand the mineralized body grade and accordingly, if conclusive, a large-scale mining plan can be devised.
Initial Production during the Bulk Sampling Program
During the first phase of the Bulk Sampling Program, a total of 1,720 carats have been discovered, out of which 826 carats are of high quality
Pilot Wash Plant
Fura has started working on the design of the Pilot Wash-Plant to support the bulk sampling process with a rated capacity of 30 tph and with an annualized capacity of 100,000 tons per annum. The Company expects the plant to be commissioned on or before 30 June 2018.
Cautionary Note Regarding Mining Operations
The Company cautions that it is not basing its production decision on a feasibility study of mineral reserves demonstrating economic and technical viability, and as a result, there is increased uncertainty and there are multiple technical and economic risks of failure which are associated with this production decision. These risks, among others, include areas that are analyzed in more detail in a feasibility study, such as applying economic analysis to resources and reserves and a number of specialized studies in areas such as mining and recovery methods, market analysis, and environmental and community impacts.