Tanzania to auction tanzanite at source to curb smuggling, support small miners

ARUSHA – Tanzania is expected to auction tanzanite in the mining site of Mererani today in efforts to sell the gemstones on its source for the East African nation to benefit from its natural resources. Godleader Shoo, Tanzania’s assistant commissioner for minerals, said the move is also aimed at assisting small-scale miners to sell their minerals at a competitive price.

According to Shoo, the tanzanite auction will involve local and international buyers, whereby anyone who meets the indicated prices would be allowed to buy the gemstones.

The official said the auction will be conducted in an open ground and that others who will be present at the auction include buyers, the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), security and defense agents, Tanzania Revenue Authority and the Simanjiro District Council to ensure everyone gets what he deserves.

“The auction will be carried out under heavy security due to the sensitivity of the matter as tanzanite has great value and we want to restrict the unfaithful ones to come into the auction,” he said.

Tanzanian president John Magufuli ordered the army to build a wall around the country’s tanzanite mines to prevent smuggling and better control exports of the precious gems unique to the country.

The order by president Magufuli was part of the efforts to regulate the mining sector, which has faced allegations of fraud and underreporting of production and profits.

A commission of inquiry set up by Magufuli in June estimated that $90 billion had been lost in tax evasion arising from mining operations since 1998.