Richland is working to establish the Capricorn Sapphire Mine as a new hub for responsibly mined blue, yellow, green and multi-coloured sapphires.
The Capricorn Sapphire mine is located near the town of Sapphire in Central Queensland, Australia, and mining commenced in April 2015. The mine lies within the well-known Queensland Sapphire Gemfields, a region that has historically been one of the biggest sapphire fields in the world, but has seen little development in terms of modern gemstone mining practices.
The mining licence covers around 1,210 acres/490 hectares and an estimated *100 million carats of sapphire lie below the surface, making it one of the largest sapphire mines in the world. *JORC (2004)
The Colours of Capricorn Sapphire
Though most people associate sapphire with the color blue, sapphires actually occur in a wide spectrum of colours. The Capricorn deposit contains large quantities of blue-coloured sapphires and also produces beautiful and unusual yellow and green sapphires. These colours are entirely natural, and the result of the crystals’ exposure to different natural chemicals during formation.
The Capricorn mine also produces rare “parti-coloured” sapphires which display two or more colours. These multi-coloured gemstones are the natural result of exposure to different chemicals during formation and are found in far fewer numbers than blue or single coloured sapphires. No two parti-coloured sapphires are the same, offering their owner the ability to possess a truly individual gemstone.
Guaranteed Authenticity, Origin & Supply
Capricorn Sapphire is involved in every step from mine to market, and can guarantee each sapphire’s origin and authenticity as every gemstone is sourced from our own Capricorn Mining Operation.
Mining & Processing
The Capricorn Sapphire mine is open-pit, and no tunneling is required. We mine in phases, excavating small areas to expose the sapphires. We then refill each area, replacing the topsoil and vegetation as part of our environmental rehabilitation.
A purpose-built alluvial sapphire processing plant capable of treating 200 LCM per hour is located on site . The plant processes mined material from a JORC (2004) Measured Sapphire Resource of approximately 21.6 million grams (109million carats) of sapphires. The current resource is calculated based on previous exploration and mining conducted on the licences.
The project consists of two mining leases (ML 70419 and ML70447) comprising about 490 hectares of potential sapphire-rich alluvial placers within this known gem field.
The Global Sapphire Market
Sapphires have been prized from antiquity, and are popular all over the globe. However, sapphire mining has remained generally artisanal (and small scale), with a fractured supply chain, sporadic supply for manufacturers, and the inability for end consumers to track the origin of their stone.
Richland believes that the Chinese market demand for sapphire is increasing beyond their own domestic supply and, furthermore, that the US jewellery and gemstone market continues to strengthen and recover since 2013. Single-origin supply of commercial colours and quantities of sapphire are difficult to find, due to blending in the wholesale and polishing markets. Richland has the expertise to apply first-rate mining practices to a proven sapphire resource and create a platform to supply consistent quantities of source-assured, ethical gemstones to major international buyers for mine-to-market assured supply chains.