Richland Resources has announced that mining is set to start at its refurbished Capricorn Sapphire mine in Queensland, Australia, next month.
The company has secured approval from the Queensland Government for the new mining plan and is in discussions with mining contractors.
According to the company, the stones will be produced at the mine and branded as Capricorn Sapphires.
Richland Resources has exited the tanzanite business with the Tanzania Government, agreeing the sale of its mining operation there to focus on sapphires.
Richland Resources CEO Bernard Olivier said: "Today's start of the commissioning process of our sapphire project in Queensland is an important milestone for Richland in developing gemstone operations in Australia.
"Our proven track record in gemstone mining has enabled us to redevelop the Capricorn Sapphire project on time and to budget."
The Capricorn Sapphire project is claimed to be located in an established mining region and can yield sapphires in different colours.
In a separate announcement, the company said that the Minister of Energy and Minerals of the Republic of Tanzania has approved the sale of its tanzanite mining and beneficiation business, and tsavorite licence interests in Tanzania to Sky Associates.
The sale, which was approved by the company's shareholders, now only remains conditional on approval by the South Africa Reserve Bank.
At present, Richland and Sky are in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals in accordance with South Africa's Exchange Control regulations.
Image: A pear-shaped blue sapphire. Photo: courtesy of LesFacettes.