Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (TAMIDA) president, Sammy Mollel explained here that, though there have been a series of large gemstones being excavated in the past, almost all of those rare minerals were never declared , smuggled clandestinely out of the country.
“This newly discovered gem weighed over 500 grams, essentially half-a-kilo when it was mined out in Mirerani. Then after initial cutting and polishing, the Tanzanite stone weighed 347 grams, making history of being the largest gemstone to be mined by small-scale miners and declared publicly,” said Mollel.
“This is a great achievement first in reinforcing the fact that artisan miners are capable of accomplishing major things in mineral excavation, cutting and polishing locally plus declaring their findings. This is in contrast to the past when large firms used to hide large gemstones and only declare minor ones,” he asserted.
The stone is worth US$ 105,000 which is equivalent to 240m/- . It will make scene at the Hong-Kong fair which is marking its 32th anniversary from the 20th to the 23rd of June. The fair is reputed as one of Asia’s top three fine jewellery events, as it usually attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
This announcement comes shortly after the Minister of Minerals, Dotto Biteko inaugurated the Arusha Mineral Trading Center, where all transactions related to tanzanite gemstones and other minerals will be conducted.
Biteko stated that gemstone mining activities have not only increased and recorded higher yield after the review of mining laws and regulations, but also the government is earning more revenues than in the past.
“Take tanzanite minerals for instance. In the past the country used to record an average of 147.7 kilograms per year, but from this year even within the first six months of 2019 we have listed nearly 950 kilograms,” he specified.
Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo said the government is creating a better and more conducive environment for miners, mineral dealers and exporters.
“This newly opened mineral market center is a one stop grading and permit issuing center which means that people will no longer have to travel to Dodoma to seek documentations and permits,” said the RC.
Overall the country’s total earnings from minerals have jumped from 196 billion/- in the past to over 310 billion/- at present, he added.