Northeastern Mozambique is situated at a very special junction between two treasure-bearing belts of rock formed between 500 and 800 million years ago. During the Pan-African tectonic event, large regions in its basement metamorphosed at high temperatures and high pressure which created suitable conditions for the formation of gemstones.
Rubies at the site can be found in gravel near the surface and extending 6 meters below. Because mining is an open pit operation, no tunnels are needed and the mining process is largely mechanized.
Deposits of the Pan-African Orogeny are much older than the Himalayan range gem deposits (e.g. Myanmar rubies) that are only 40-million-years old.
Both rubies and sapphires are part of the corundum family, one of the hardest minerals on Earth. When exposed to extreme temperatures and pressure, colorless corundum replaces its aluminium atoms with chromium to produce a striking red hue. Silica, a widely prevalent mineral in the Earth’s crust, typically prevents this process from occurring, which renders rubies quite rare gemstones.
Gemfields, a world renowned supplier of colored gemstones and owner of Fabergé, runs 75% of Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada (“MRM”). The remaining 25% is owned by Mwiriti Limitada, a local Mozambican company.