The CryptoRuble is a digital currency currently in development, commissioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will not be a cryptocurrency in the way that Bitcoin is, as it will be issued by the government with no mining involved. The value of the CryptoRuble will be identical to the value of a regular ruble.
Vladimir Putin announced in October of 2017 that Russia would be issuing its own state-sponsored cryptocurrencythe CryptoRuble. The CryptoRuble, although not formally launched, is expected to start testing soon. The digital currency will be issued by Russias Central Bank. The digital currency is unlike cryptocurrencies as it will be launched and managed by the Russian government.
Certain Russian banks have expressed interest in testing out the digital ruble, including the Credit Bank of Moscow and Crimeas Russian National Commercial Bank. This testing is expected to start in the second half of 2021.
In 2022, the bank is expected to allow citizens to test the currency. The idea is that the CryptoRuble will help decrease costs within the financial system while boosting competition among banks. Its worth noting that Russia still doesnt recognize digital tokens or cryptocurrencies as legal tender.
On the downside, the digital currency will be centralized in nature, as its issued by the Central Bank. The CryptoRuble is expected to operate like the Russian ruble, just in digital and encrypted form. The CryptoRuble will have the same price the ruble has and will be able to be exchanged with traditional rubles.
It is speculated that one of the main reasons for Putin's interest in blockchain is that transactions are encrypted, and thus easier to discreetly send money without worrying about sanctions placed on the country by the international community.
This theory gained traction after the Financial Times reported in early 2018 that one of Putin's economic advisors, Sergei Glazyev, said during a government meeting that, "this instrument [CryptoRuble] suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions." Note that Glazyev himself was placed under sanctions by President Obama that prevented him from trading in or traveling to America in 2014.
Another reason for the CryptoRuble is that it could help to stomp out other cryptocurrencies that are beyond government control like Bitcoin and Ether. Russia remains displeased with cryptocurrencies, with Putin himself saying in October 2017 that cryptocurrencies were used mainly for crime. Meanwhile, the CryptoRuble also yields additional tax revenue for the Russian government, as the latter will be able to tax citizens who are using the CryptoRuble, reportedly at a rate of 13%.
Two of Russia's biggest mining companies said on Wednesday they were investigating ruble-based payments schemes, amid calls from Moscow to reduce the role of the U.S. dollar in Russian trade and so limit the impact of U.S. sanctions.
The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia favoured bilateral trade with all countries in their national currencies, rather than the dollar, but that the idea needed detailed work before being implemented.
Russia's Norilsk Nickel, which vies with Brazil's Vale SA to be the world's biggest nickel producer and is the world's top palladium producer, said on Wednesday it was discussing the possibility of settling payments in rubles with foreign customers that had signalled their readiness for such an arrangement.
A new round of U.S. sanctions on Russia last week sent the ruble tumbling to its weakest since mid-2016, while earlier measures targeting major Russian companies, including aluminium and hydropower giant En+ Group, demonstrated the degree of Washington's leverage over Russian firms.
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The Montepuez ruby deposit is located in the northeast of Mozambique within the Cabo Delgado Province, believed to be the most significant recently discovered ruby deposit in the world, covering an area of 34,966 hectares. MRM is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by local Mozambican minority partner, Mwriti Limitada.
The Montepuez deposits were discovered in 2009. Gemfields involvement commenced in June 2011 when a joint venture agreement was signed between Gemfields and Mwiriti Lda, the original title holder, and Gemfields acquired 75% of the Montepuez mine. It is generally recognised as one of the worlds largest known ruby and corundum deposits and the single largest producing ruby mine.
Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada (MRM) received a 25-year mining and exploration licence from the Mozambique Government in November 2011, following which an amalgamation of concessions completed (concession numbers 4702 and 4703, now 4703C), which is valid up to November 2036 and covering an area of 340sq. km.
Gemfields, together with MRM, aim to lead a sector that has historically remained unregulated and largely illicit, by showcasing the benefits of a more systematic, modern and transparent approach to coloured gemstone mining so that the industry becomes more responsible and legitimate, providing sustainable long-term social, economic and environmental benefits to both the country and local communities.
Megarum Mining Limitada (MML) holds two ruby-mining titles, 7049C and 7057C, located in the Montepuez District of Mozambique. These titles each share a boundary with the existing MRM deposit and cover an area of approximately 190 square kilometres and 150 square kilometres, respectively.
Based on the findings of auger drilling done during 2017, four potential bulk sampling locations were identified. A total of 541,000 tonnes of rock was handled during the year, including 42,500 tonnes of ore. The wash plant processed and treated 40,300 tonnes of ore during 2019, with 82 carats of varying-grade rubies recovered.
Gemfields implemented an innovative grading and auction system for selling its rough gemstones. The auctions are held in secure locations with the material separated into homogenous lots and certified as either having been produced by Gemfields or obtained by Gemfields from third parties. The worlds leading rough gemstone buyers submit sealed bids for individual lots. A sale occurs if the highest bid received exceeds a pre-determined, but undisclosed, reserve price. The auctions have brought a level of professionalism and transparency previously not seen in the industry.
As there was no industry standard for evaluating rough coloured gemstones, Gemfields established its own grading system to assess each gem according to its individual characteristics (size, colour, shape and clarity). This approach has been instrumental in providing buyers with confidence in the consistent quality of the material on offer. Gemfields used this grading system to develop two auction classes, one offering higher quality gemstones and the other for the larger volume of lower quality gems.
June 2019In June 2019, an auction of mixed higher and commercial quality rough ruby was held in Singapore. The auction achieved revenues of US$50.0 million at an average price of US$51.99 per carat.December 2019In December 2019, an auction of mixed higher and commercial quality rough ruby was held in Singapore. The auction achieved revenues of US$71.5 million at an average price of US$77.12 per carat.April 2021During March/April 2021, a series of seven small and sequential ruby auctions of a selection of grades were held in various locations and online. The auctions generated aggregated auction revenues of USD58.9 million at an average price of USD171.33 per carat.
The mining operations at MRM comprise several shallow, opencast pits split between three main operating areas: the Mugloto Block, the Maninge Nice Block and the Glass Block. Mining is carried out as a conventional open-pit operation utilising excavators, loaders and articulated dump trucks. Loaded trucks haul ore to stockpiles adjacent to the processing plant, while waste is backfilled into mined-out areas, thereby returning the area to its natural aesthetic. With the impact of the pandemic, principal operations including mining were suspended on 22 April 2020. This drastically reduced the level of rock handling for the year. During the period January to March 2020, total rock handling averaged 539 kt per month compared to 387 kt per month during the same period in 2019, an increase of 39%.
A total of 1.3 Mct of ruby and corundum were produced during the year, with a focus on high quality, low-occurrence deposits which provide premium rubies. The total carats produced at the end of April was 79% higher than during the same period last year.
Security operations continue to make good progress in registering a significant decline in artisanal mining activity within and around the concession area. Incorporation of supportive security-enhancement equipment, including lighting towers and wireless cameras, has improved surveillance across the site. Patrol teams are using body cameras, which has resulted in improved monitoring of the MRM concession and adherence to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR).
Health and safety policies and procedures continue to evolve and improve across the operation in order to create a safer and healthier working environment at MRM. Safety training has focussed on toolbox talks, risk-assessing work environments and improving the culture associated with near-miss reporting. Seven lost-time injuries occurred during the period.
MRMs community engagement and project activities are aligned with the policies of the Government of Mozambique and supplement the Governments efforts in improving the quality of life of the community. Through its community engagement process, the key focus for the community team during the year has been the continuation of existing health and livelihoods projects, as well as the implementation of a number of new projects.
Total cash operating costs were USD20.8 million (2019: USD32.8 million) with unit operating costs of USD10.8 per tonne of total rock handled (2019: USD5.9 per tonne). The unit cash operating cost was at USD3.81 in March 2020, the last full month of operation during the year. This is the lowest monthly unit operating cost since inception, which is a direct outcome of the building up of operational capabilities with the existing infrastructure.
Total cash capital expenditure for the year was USD3.9 million, comprising USD1.3 million invested in expansion and exploration and USD2.6 million in existing mining and ancillary equipment replacements and the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP). Non-committed capital expenditure was indefinitely postponed and where possible committed expenditure was delayed to 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
Were truly delighted to be back in business after the lengthy pause in both mining and sales and we extend our heartfelt thanks to our hard-working teams, our host government and our clients for their ongoing support.
Gemfields has unveiled a new ruby sort house at its Montepuez Ruby Mine in Mozambique. The first of its kind in the coloured gemstone industry, it will be on a par with the best diamond facilities in the world.
MRM has an obligation to compensate the households and other land users who are physically or economically displaced by the proposed mining in its concession area, in accordance with the local legislative requirements.
The global coloured gemstone market continues to grow soundly and Gemfields has the potential to expand through its existing emerald and ruby businesses, its recently acquired projects and to apply its successful model to other coloured gemstones.