-- adds broker comment, share price --
Sibley has acquired a total of 300,000 Richland shares at a price of 3p, across two transactions (one on December 4 and one on December 9), the company revealed in a statement.
He subsequently owns 14.2mln Richland shares, which amounts to 6.5% of the company.
House broker Shore Cap said the purchase follows an encouraging update from the Capricorn Sapphire mine in Australia earlier this month.
The sale of 159kct of lower-quality sapphire and corundum implied an average price of US$1.336/ct or double the price previous owner Australis obtained in the few months it mined Capricorn in the mid-2000s.
Richland’s next update is an operational & sales update in January with a higher-quality sapphire sale scheduled for late in the first quarter.
Shore Cap said it expects prices to exceed the US$14.30/ct achieved in September 2015’s inaugural ‘customer specific’ parcel of ‘eye clean’ stones.
Richland is an unrecognised gem, it adds, with multiple potential share price catalysts over the next few months.
The share purchases recently by Sibley and also fund manager BlackRock underpins its view said the broker.
Shares were unchanged at 3p.