Mozambique copper-bearing tourmaline mine


Moussa Konate
BC Gemas do Brazil and Mozambique Gems
Interview with Moussa Konate, BC Gemas do Brazil and Mozambique Gems
For some time, Brazil was considered the sole legitimate source of the electric-blue tourmaline known as Paraíba. As a result, Mr. Konate and his company met considerable resistance when they first started mining similar material in Mozambique.

The market soon accepted his copper-bearing Paraíba tourmaline because, he says, it became about the quality rather than the name.

Every day, miners dig out the ore and bring the material to the washing plant, where they currently wash about 11 16-ton truckloads per day, up from 6 to 7 at the beginning. Mr. Konate’s stated goal is to increase production to 30 truckloads daily. The mine, which started up in 2006, yields about 1 to 2 kg (about 2 to 4 lbs.) of good-quality tourmaline a month, mostly in 1 to 5 gram (under .20 ounce) sizes, but up to 200 grams (7 ounces) in some rare cases.

Since starting operations, his company has explored barely 2 hectares (5 acres) of their 300-hectare (740-acre) claim, leaving plenty of areas still unexplored. The company’s licence remains in effect until 2036.

Mr. Konate’s company is also exploring for aquamarine in the mine’s northern region. They’ve had some success, finding scattered pieces of cabochon material, but they’re still looking for the pocket that will lead them to maximum yield. As he says with a smile, “Then we can invite you guys to come and see us take out 100 kilos (220 lbs) of pure aquamarine".

Mr. Konate is intimately involved in the mining of copper-bearing tourmaline, as well as some aquamarine, in Mozambique. He has been a driving force in copper-bearing tourmaline production. During his interviews, Mr. Konate discusses current production of copper-bearing tourmaline in Mozambique, changes at the mine site, the market for African copper-bearing tourmaline and the Mozambique aquamarine mine he is involved in.