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Fura Gems to Invest More Than $200 Million in Colombia Mine Over Five Years

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Dubai-based miner Fura Gems will invest $200 million in its Colombia emerald mine over the next five years, an executive said on Wednesday.

The company is holding its fourth auction of uncut emeralds from its Coscuez mine in central Boyaca province this week in Bogota.

Fura predicts the auction, which will move to Bangkok later this month before closing, will attract some 80 potential bidders from around the world, vying for 240,000 karats of the green gem.

“We are expecting total, maybe in five years, we are expecting more than $200 million in this country” Sanjay Kumar, managing director for Fura in Colombia, said on the sidelines of the auction.

The company will continue spending on technology for the Coscuez mine, as well as safety, he said.

The number of staff will expand, though not exponentially because Fura is focused on mechanization, Kumar added.

Fura says it has contributed some 41 billion pesos (about $9.8 million) in taxes and royalties to Colombia in the last five years, and invested more than 450 billion pesos (about $107.5 million).

Fura, which was previously listed in Canada, also mines rubies in Mozambique and sapphires in Australia.

“Emeralds should bring progress and growth to their areas of origin and should be mined with respect for nature,” Jimena Roa, vice president for safety for the national mining agency regulator, said during the auction’s opening.

Fura said in December that dozens of people had entered the Coscuez mine, injuring an employee and stealing ore.

Mine invasions by informal miners, sometimes with the backing of criminal groups, are not uncommon for gold and emerald mining companies in Colombia, which has long sought investment from big-name producers.

Source : Reuters