|Active in||Lesotho, Botswana, DR Congo, Angola, Central African Republic, AR, Indonesia, Mauritius, Dubai, Australia, Antwerp|
|Targeted||base metals, precious metals|
Mr Elphick is a former "fixer" for diamond supremo, De Beers [see: E Oppenheimer & Son ] who branched out from his old employers to set up his own diamond outfit in 2005. London-listed Gem Diamonds is now the most aggressive exploration company operating on indigenous "Bushmen" territory in Botswana [see: http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/bushmen/diamonds].
Its Gaghoo diamond project in the country was valued at US$181i net present value in 2011 [MJ 26 August 2011].
Gem Diamonds also has projects in Lesotho, Angola, the Central African Republic (CAR) and at Ellendale in Australia.
Its Cempaka alluvial diamond mine in South Kalimantan Gem Diamonds was acquired from AIM-listed BDI Mining in May 2007 - which held an 80% interest in the prospect. (At the time of this acquisition, BDI Mining also owned 100% of the Woodlark Gold Project in Papua New Guinea, which was subsequently sold).
On 1 January 2009, the Cempaka mine was put on a "care and maintenance basis" by GEM, which announced the decision as "due to the impact of the declining price of Cempaka's rough diamonds since the onset of the global economic crisis" [Company statement, 25 December 2008].
Although Gem Diamonds did not link this decision to problems experienced in the area, in September 2008, just over three months before shutting up shop at Cempaka, Reuters reported that operations had already been suspended for four months, after the South Kalimantan provincial government "raised concerns regarding waste water discharge" from the mine.
Gem claimed to have revised its environmental plan and feasibility study, and then received government approval to re-start extraction [Reuters 9 September 2008].
The company's Letseng diamond prospect (formerly known as Gope) in Lesotho, valued at US$1.6 billion, had initially been planned as an open-pit mine but, following the 2008 market downfall, is currently being developed as an underground operation [MJ 26 August 2011].
Gem also operates diamond "technology" centres in Dubai, in the tax haven of Mauritius and in the key diamond cutting and sales centre of Antwerp, Belgium.
Elphick's Zanaga Iron Ore Co, which owns a large iron ore deposit in DR Congo, raised just over £62 million when it listed on the London Stock Exchange in November 2010.
Elphick said at the time that: "I was looking around Africa for orebodies which would play into [sic] the emerging China and India story...I came across this orebody...which....was esentially not owned by anybody" [MJ 19 November 2010] - and so he snapped it up.