Govt releases US$718,288 from Williamson Diamonds

09Nov 2017
James Kandoya
The Guardian
Govt releases US$718,288 from Williamson Diamonds

THE government has collected revenues amounting to US$718,288 equivalent to 1.614bn/- after Williamson Diamonds sold its diamond mines parcel 39,586.96 carat in the world market held Monday this week.

Minister for Minerals, Angela Kairuki

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam the Minister for Minerals, Angela Kairuki said the carat sold was at US$10,261,227.76 an increase of 20.16 per cent from the previous estimation of US$ 2, 069,582 initially estimated by local valuation team.

 Kariuki said the decision was reached after a stiff discussion and eventually the government granted the company authorisation to resume diamond exports, sales.

She said through the sale of diamond mines parcel, the government has earned final royalty amounting to US$ 124,174.97 inspection fee US$ 20,695.83 making total of US$144,870.0 equivalents to 325,525bn/-.

The ministry boss explained that apart from that, the local valuation team discovered that there was pink diamond in the parcel with 5.92 carats (1.184 grammes) which alone was sold at US$ 2,005555.00 equivalent to 4.51bn/-.

“I would like to assure the public that the government will continue to supervise and monitor minerals resources to ensure that the majority benefit from it,” she said.

On September 12, this year, the government authorities in Tanzania seized a shipment of diamonds belonging to London-based Petra Diamonds, saying the miner under-declared the value of its mineral exports.

 Furthermore, two weeks later the customs officers seized a parcel containing 71,654 carats rough gems at the Dar es Salam airport as they were being exported to Antwerp by Williamson Diamonds, in which Petra holds a 75 per cent stake and the Tanzanian State 25 per cent.

Williamson Diamonds submitted documents stating the shipment to be worth US$14.8 million – documents the Ministry of Energy and Minerals certified – along with the requisite KP certificate, but the state subsequently disputed the value of the parcel, saying it was worth US$29.5 million.

 The government then ‘nationalised’ the diamonds. Petra Diamonds has now suspended operations at its mine in Tanzania and said authorities are questioning a number of “key personnel”.

However, after a discussion, two weeks later, the government permitted Petra Diamonds to resume exports and sales of diamonds from its Williamson mine, after the government seized a parcel of rough over a valuation dispute.

Authorities prevented the export of 71,654 carats of diamonds last month after claiming the stones were worth more than Petra had initially stated.

 The company has not yet reached a resolution with the government over these diamonds, which remain in the possession of officials.

Petra said it would finalise with the government the exact timing and process for the next export of diamonds to Petra’s marketing office in Antwerp.

Williamson operations were briefly halted earlier this month as authorities were questioning key personnel from the deposit. Production resumed after four days.

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