By Brecken Branstrator
Fura Gems has entered into an option agreement with Richland Resources to acquire its Capricorn sapphire mine in Queensland, Australia. Pictured here is a yellow sapphire from the area. (Photo credit: Richland Resources)
Toronto—Fura Gems is rounding out the “big three” gemstones in its portfolio with the announcement of a sapphire mine acquisition deal.

The company announced Thursday it has entered into an option agreement with Richland Resources Ltd. to acquire its wholly owned subsidiary, Richland Corporate Ltd.

The subsidiary owns 100 percent of Capricorn Sapphire Pty Ltd., which in turn holds all licenses that comprise the Capricorn Sapphire project in Queensland, Australia. Capricorn comprises two mining permits (EPM 25973 and EPM 25978) and three mining licenses (ML 70419, ML 70447 and ML 70451).

Capricorn is already a producing mine, but Fura Gems CEO Dev Shetty said the company plans to more clearly delineate the deposit during the second half of this year, followed by a scale-up of operations in 2020.

Fura Gems already holds mining assets in Colombia, with the Coscuez emerald mine, and Mozambique, with its Montepuez ruby mining project.

The total purchase price of Capricorn for the miner includes various requirements, including CAD $150,000 (about $114,000) in cash paid to Richland as an option fee, CAD $25,000 (about $19,000) paid upon deal signing and the remaining CAD $125,000 (about $95,000) payable within seven days thereafter.

Fura also has to pay $185,000 in cash (almost $141,000) to Richland on closing.

The deal is subject to the approval of the Toronto TSX Venture Exchange.

Richland said in a statement that it has been engaged in talks for some time to either secure funds to restart production at Capricorn, halted in December 2017, or to conclude talks to sell the mine.

Successful completion of the deal will see the company become an AIM Rule 15 cash shell, referring to businesses with money on their balance sheet but no trading operations listed on the stock exchange.

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