Mustang’s Montepuez Ruby Project consists of four licenses covering 143km2 and lies adjacent to the world’s largest ruby deposit, discovered in 2009 and currently mined by Gemfields.
Mustang’s concession is located northwest of Gemfields’ operation. Both properties are located on the ruby mineralization belt in an area geologists call the ‘Montepuez Complex,’ where complex thermal and geological events have created the ideal physical and chemical conditions for the formation of gem-quality rubies.
Mustang’s bulk sample mining is currently concentrated in a promising area in the south-eastern part of our concessions, where gem-rich gravels can be found at the depth of less than one meter. Operations at such shallow depth are inexpensive, as little overburden removal is required.
Since the start of project development in early 2016, Mustang’s team has made significant progress in exploration, bulk sampling and ruby recovery - and the project is in an advanced exploration stage. Currently we have two bulk sampling processing plants onsite, capable of processing 200 tonnes of material per hour. The plants are consistently recovering medium to high quality rubies daily through bulk sampling from different areas. Since October 2017 the average grade has increased by 10%, compared with average grade for all previously processed material.
During exploration efforts in late 2017 and early 2018, 69 sampling pits were developed, and 14,502 tonnes of material extracted for bulk sampling. As of the end of January 2018, Mustang’s gem quality ruby inventory stood at 302,028 carats.
A sales and marketing development project is also currently underway. Using the gemstones available from current exploration-production, we are currently evaluating a vertically integrated mine-to-market sales channel, with the intention to eventually generate regular revenue by selling stones in volumes corresponding to the project’s initial limited production. Mustangs near term strategy is to systematically build a resource base & generate revenue whilst doing so.
As part of this process, Mustang opened an office in Chantaburi, Thailand, in March 2018. Considering Thailand’s position as the world leader for trading and processing of coloured gemstones, especially rubies and sapphires, this location will enable Mustang to undertake market research, establish strong relationships with major local and international ruby customers, and oversee selected heating and cutting of the company’s ethically mined red and pink rubies.
“Hand on heart, I've probably done more research on the history of ruby than not just anyone alive, but anyone who has ever lived. Based on my study of the historical record, when it comes to production of large, fine gems, there has never been a find of ruby as significant as what was discovered in Mozambique in 2009. Right now, it's raining ruby.”
First discovered in 2009 by artisanal miners, Mozambique’s ruby deposits are considered to be the largest gemstone deposits found in recent history. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), they currently account for approximately 50% of the world's ruby production.
The Commercial potential of the deposit is highlighted by Mustangs neighbor Gemfields’ success in generating ~US$335 million in ruby sales up to December 2017.
Mustang is currently the only listed, revenue generating, ruby explorer and developer in the world.
Mozambique has already made a considerable impact on the global ruby market: not only in terms of volume, but also when it comes to the quality of stones. Leading gemologists agree that Mozambican rubies match the quality of stones from Myanmar (Burma), historically the premier source of the finest ruby. In fact, several leading gemological laboratories have confirmed that certain Mozambican rubies display the highly coveted ‘pigeon’s blood’ colour grade – previously reserved for Burmese rubies only.
As with all gemstone mines - and range of colours are found when excavating. The slightly lighter pinks and purples of some rubies found in the Montepuez area are intrinsically beautiful and also appeal to a younger clientele, opening the door to new and exciting colour combinations in jewels. Such leading jewellery houses as Bulgari, Tiffany and de Grisongono have already embraced stones of similar shades in their recent designs.
Over the last decade, prices for rubies have steadily increased, with the Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59 carat Burmese “pigeon’s blood” stone selling for a world auction record of US $30.3 million in 2015 at Sotheby's. Add to this the reoccurring US embargo on goods from Myanmar, and it is easy to understand why manufacturers, jewellers and connoisseurs have turned to Mozambique rubies.