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Richland Resources Ltd: THE INVESTMENT CASE

Interims give investors in Richland Resources a sign of things to come

The Aussie sapphire and gemstone group reported a 66% rise in total income for the first half of 2017.
Sapphire production has ramped up

Interim results from Richland Resources Ltd (LON:RLD) on Monday August 8 revealed that the ramp-up of the Capricorn sapphire mine in Queensland, Australia.

As chief executive Bernard Olivier highlighted in his statement the mine had hit its second quarter target, for 1.2mln carats, with the final ramp-up implemented during the period.

The financials gave investors an indication of what to expect now that the Capricorn is seeing improved output and lower per-unit costs.

The Aussie sapphire and gemstone group reported a 66% rise in total income for the first half of 2017, with a tally of US$1.18mln versus US$710,000. It achieved revenues of US$341,000 from sapphire sales in the first quarter, and US$689,000 in the second.

The income figure was boosted by an export grant and fuel rebates, together totalling almost US$100,000. At the same time, it reported an operating loss of US$960,000, narrowed from a US$1.46mln loss in the same period of last year.

Project-level costs amounted to US$647,000 in the first quarter, and US$780,000 in the second.

In total, the group produced 1.96 mln carats over the six month period with some 114.3 thousand tonnes of material processed through the first half. An average grade of 17.2 carats per tonne was reported for the period.

The company ended the half with US$300,000 of cash, and US$4.2mln of assets.

Olivier comments

"During Q2 2017, as well as achieving our ramp-up target of 1.2 million carats per quarter, our Q2 revenue covered over 95% of our Q2 Production and Operating costs for the Capricorn Sapphire project as we implemented the final ramp-up stage,” said Bernard Olivier, Richland chief executive.

He added: “Operational ramp-up and sales initiatives have combined to enable us to mine both more efficiently and achieve higher revenue for our product as we seek to develop our brand.”

Sales pipeline

Earlier in the summer, Richland put new sales agreements in place. To start with, there will be two sightholders. The first is Royal Touch LLC, which has had a long and successful working relationship with the company and was previously a sightholder for Richland's tanzanite mining operations in Tanzania. Royal Touch has an extensive consumer network, especially in the United States of America and has close relationships with certain television sales networks.

The second is China Stone Co Ltd, a world-leading provider of precision-cut natural gemstones. China Stone delivers a wide range of natural gemstones to fine jewellers, watchmakers and luxury trade professionals throughout the world.

Richland has also entered into an exclusivity agreement with Royal Touch in respect of its fully-heated green sapphires. Under the terms of the agreement, Capricorn Sapphire will supply Royal Touch with all of its heated green sapphires on an exclusive basis for the majority of the size fractions.

“We look forward to taking our ethically-mined, fully-complaint and conflict-free sapphires to the world's markets through these and similar partnerships going forward,” Olivier said at that time.

Maiden estimate for exploration area

In a separate statement on Monday, August 8, the company unveiled its maiden resource statement for exploration ground around 45 kilometres from the Capricorn mine.

It estimated some 5mln loose cubic metres (LCM) of sapphire bearing gravel, with an average grade 3.5 grammes per LCM (which equates to 17.5 carats per LCM).

That equates to a total of 87.5mln carats in the ground.

The exploration area covers some 39 blocks, and it is in the vicinity of known sapphire producing areas.

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