Shefa Yamim ATM (LON:SEFA) has completed a bulk sampling campaign at the Kishon Mid-Reach Zone 1.
The Northern Israel-focused precious stones explorer said the latest samples, BS-1228 and BS-1208, marked the end of a fourteen-sample bulk programme at the area, totalling 249 tonnes and 123 tonnes of basal gravel respectively.
Shefa said that sapphire was the dominant gem mineral from BS-1228, with the largest single sapphire standing at 3.04 carat (ct). The results are in line with previous bulk sample results in Zone 1 to date, with the exception of BS-1212, in that the target mineral assemblage (TMA) in BS-1228 was dominated by the Heavy Industrial Minerals (garnet, ilmenite, zircon and rutile) Suite (HIM) at 85%.
In contrast, but in keeping with most of earlier bulk samples, BS-1208 results were dominated by the Carmel Sapphire at 37%, followed by the sapphire at 16%. Although no diamond, moissanite, ruby or hibonite were recovered from BS-1208, the bulk sample was unusual, but like BS-1212, in that the TMA was dominated by the Diamond, Moissanite, gem Corundum species (sapphire, ruby and Carmel Sapphire) and Hibonite (DMCH) suite at 53% of the sample.
The largest gemstone recovered from BS-1208 was an 0.88 ct sapphire. Although comparatively small, the company said the size is in keeping with the lowest TMA grade returned so far in Zone 1, with 7.93 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) for BS-1208, pointing to immature trapsite development at that locality in Zone 1.
The firm added that the variation in overall grades is what might be expected for a placer with semi mobile trapsites, and that the TMA was represented by all minerals except for diamonds, which have only rarely been found in the Kishon Mid Reach area.
Avi Taub, Shefa Yamim chief executive, said: "We are delighted to mark the end of Bulk Sampling in Zone 1, which consisted of processing over 6375 tonnes of material which confirmed the presence of diverse gem minerals.
He added: “We have started processing bulk samples collected from Zone 2 and expect to process five bulk samples consisting of 2900 tonnes of gravel. We look forward to reporting on our progress as we continue to assess the resource potential of the Kishon Mid-Reach area."
The news follows a portfolio expansion last week, when the group was granted two extended prospecting permits in Israel, taking its total exploration portfolio to 60,000 hectares.
In a note to clients, analysts at VSA Capital initiated coverage on the stock with a ‘Speculative Buy’ rating, commenting: “To date the company has yielded encouraging results including bulk sampling with precious stone grades of 255cpht including gem corundum of over 30 carats in weight… Over the past five years the coloured gemstone market has grown from US$2.4bn to US$6bn as consumer tastes have trended towards coloured stones.
They added: “Sefa’s current valuation based on a weighted average of bulk sampling results to date implies an average per carat value of just US$40/ct…having listed on the LSE and raised £4.15mln we believe that the stock is well placed for further development whilst offering attractive exposure to the coloured gemstone market.”
In early morning trading, Shefa Yamim shares were up 3.2% at 111p.
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