World Economy

Tanzania’s Wasted Tanzanite

Tanzania’s Wasted TanzaniteTanzania’s Wasted Tanzanite

Smuggling is denying Tanzania some 80 percent of receipts accrued from Tanzanite – a precious gemstone so far only found in the country from which it derives its name.

“While Tanzania exported only $38 million worth of Tanzanite in 2013, Kenya and India’s exports of the precious gemstone were valued at $100 and $300 million, respectively,” Ministry of Energy and Minerals Commissioner Paul Masanja told The Anadolu Agency.

“These are official figures of the governments of these countries,” he said in an interview held on the sidelines of Arusha’s Third International Gem Fair.

Tanzanite is only found and mined by 565 small-scale mining companies and one large-scale one in the Mirerani area of the Simanjiro district in Northern Tanzania’s Manyara region.

More than 500 participants from all over the world are attending the 3-day fair in Arusha, which is organized by the Energy and Minerals Ministry and mineral dealers association.

The three-day fair features 61 pavilions from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Thailand and event host Tanzania.


Masanja asserted that the Tanzanian government will leave no stone unturned to stem the smuggling of Tanzanite.

“The government intends to establish a special task force combining officials from all security organs – including the police force, Tanzania People’s Defense Force, state security, immigration and the Tanzania Revenue Authority – to combat mineral smuggling,” he told AA.

The government is also planning to build a “Mineral House” in Arusha, where minerals can be traded under government supervision.

“The construction of the Mineral House will be the panacea to the vice [smuggling], as no license would be issued for trading minerals outside the would-be one-stop-center complex,” Masanja explained.