American researchers explore old mine in Malawi

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) field gemmologist Vincent Pardieu, videographer Didier Gruel and expedition guest Stanislas Detroyat journeyed to Malawi in late September to collect samples, to document and share findings from one of the oldest and least documented gemstone deposits on the African continent.

The ruby and sapphire deposit was first discovered 145 kilometers south of Malawi’s capital of Lilongwe on Chimwadzulu Hill in 1958 and while it is known for its rubies and orange sapphires, it produces mostly pale green, blue and yellow sapphires.

Pardieu said: “We discovered that this deposit shares a very similar metasomatic type geological environment with the Montepuez ruby deposit located in nearby in Mozambique, as well as Winza, Tanzania and Didy, Madagascar.”

In 2008, Nyala Mines Ltd. began to work the deposit, while Colombia Gem House Inc. took charge of cutting, marketing and selling of the stones.

In 2013, Malawian national Abdul Mahomed acquired of 80% of the mining operation, with the acquisition process soon to be completed.

Production is expected to begin in 2015, with the Malawi government and a local consortium holding the remaining 20% of the operation.Columbia Gem House has set up the Dzonze District Development Fund and is supporting two villages near the […]

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