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Richland says Q2 tanzanite output up despite illegal mining activities

28 july 2014

Richland Resources said its tanzanite production improved by 34 percent to 1.0 million carats during the second quarter of the year from 754,585 carats realised a year earlier.
The company said in a statement that it raked in $2.8 million in sales during the period, while its carats per tonne average grade leaped to 156 carats from 88 carats.
It said that the increase in output was recorded despite illegal mining activities at its Block C operations at the Merelani mine in Tanzania.
The government, which was now a shareholder in TanzaniteOne, had been helping to clear part of the block.
Richland said it continued to appeal to the Tanzanian government to address the illegal mining which remains a source of headache for the company and raised security concerns after an armed robbery which occurred at Merelani on July 17 when night-shift production was being transported from the mine shaft to the secured sorting facility.
The company recently indicated that it had embarked on a cost reduction and restructuring programme at the Merelani mine.
This had already led to an increase in revenues and reduction in overheads.
“Following our decision to restrict investment into our tanzanite-mining subsidiary (TanaziteOne) we are seeing performance improvements and the Tanzanian Government now working to remove the remainder of illegal miners from our licence,” said Richland chief executive Bernard Olivier.
“Our objective for Richland shareholders is to build revenues from efficiently mining and recovering gemstones.”

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished