Tanzanite Auction Generates over $ 3.3 Mln.

Dar Es Salaam: Tanzanite gemstones worth over 3.3 million US dollars (over 7bn/-) were sold during the maiden mineral auction here over the weekend as Manyara region starts the process to build mineral export processing zone at Mirerani.

“We have already secured a vast plot onto which the Tanzanite EPZ will be established, with all polishing, processing and branding done before exporting the gemstones,” said Manyara Regional Commissioner Joel Bendera.

According to Mr. Bendera, the EPZ at the foot of Mirerani Hills will solve the problem of mineral smuggling which has been the major concern as far as Tanzanite Gemstones are concerned. “There will be no complaints of our precious gems being labelled as India or Kenyan sourced,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Executive Director of Tanzania Diamond Sorting Company (TANSORT) Archad Karugendo said the government earned royalties valued at nearly 380m/- from the auction which was held at the Northern Zone’s Mineral offices in Arusha.

Mr. Karugendo explained that while the state owned Tanzanite One sold Tanzanite Gemstones worth over 7bn/- and paid 3676m/- royalty, the other firm, Franone Mining and Gem Company Limited sold minerals worth 100,000 million US dollars (over 200m/-), with 10m/- paid to the government.

A total of 37 miners and five mineral firms participated in the auction. Presiding over the trading, Mr. Bendera said there are 180 active and licensed miners operating in Mirerani Hills of Simanjiro District where Tanzanite Gemstones are mined.

The weekend auction was also attended by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Prof James Mdoe, who said the government has initiated the mineral auctions to enable buyers to come directly to the source of Tanzanite and buy the minerals straight from miners.

“It is yet another way of reducing smuggling by linking international dealers with local miners and removing the unnecessary middlemen who usually collude with smugglers,” said Prof Mdoe.