Home News URA Shifts Focus to Gravelotte Emerald Mine in Limpopo

URA Shifts Focus to Gravelotte Emerald Mine in Limpopo

by Madonna

The CEO of URA Holdings, Bernard Olivier, along with chairman Edward Nealon, brings extensive experience from the mining sector to their roles.

Olivier has notable success stories from his time at Tanzanite One (T1) and Bezant Resources, giving him a deep understanding of the industry.


Nealon, on the other hand, founded and developed Aquarius Platinum and Sylvania Platinum, and was involved with T1 from its inception.


Their combined expertise in swiftly advancing mining assets along the value chain has facilitated the transformation of a historic emerald operation into a production site within just over two years, with a budget of approximately £2 million.


Located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, around 50 kilometers from Kruger National Park, the Gravelotte mine was a major operation in the 1960s, yielding nearly 113 million carats over its history.

URA acquired the mine from Mangum Mining for an initial £100,000 in shares, with additional payments based on carats mined.

Following the acquisition, the team promptly conducted a JORC resource estimate for the Cobra and Discovery deposits, identifying around 29 million carats of contained emeralds, providing an initial mine life of nearly a decade. They have also identified exploration targets that could significantly increase this figure.

Rather than following traditional feasibility studies, URA adopted a fast-track approach, swiftly installing necessary equipment for production with minimal resources.

The existing infrastructure at Gravelotte, including civil works, water storage, accommodation, and access to grid electricity, has further facilitated the rapid progress.

URA plans to reinvest future profits into expanding production.

With production underway, URA is preparing for its first trial auction, aiming to emulate the success of Gemfields in creating a market for ethically sourced emeralds.

CEO Olivier highlights the distinct market dynamics of colored gemstones, which remain strong despite challenges in the diamond market.

Regarding URA’s auction prospects, Olivier remains cautious, citing various factors influencing prices.

Outside of South Africa, URA has a strategic minerals project in Zambia, which may lead to a joint venture.

In compliance with black economic empowerment (BEE) legislation, URA has allocated a 26% share of Gravelotte to local communities and black employees.

Despite the significant progress made, URA’s achievements have yet to be fully recognized, but Olivier remains confident that continued progress will attract further recognition.

Institutional investors, including Premier Miton, have been attracted by the management’s track record and expertise, positioning URA for future success.


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