Tanzania to auction tanzanite from its source to curb smuggling

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Tanzanian government officials look at a consignment of diamonds seized at the airport in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, September 9, 2017. Picture taken September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Tanzania is expected to auction tanzanite in the mining site of Mererani on Saturday in efforts to sell the gemstones on its source to make the east African nation benefit from its natural resources, Xinhua reports.

Tanzania’s assistant commissioner for minerals, Godleader Shoo, said that the move is also aimed at assisting small-scale miners to sell their minerals at a competitive price.

Both local and international buyers are welcome to take part in the auction.

The State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), security and defense agents, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the Simanjiro District Council will be at the auction to ensure everyone gets what they deserve, the report said.

“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,” Shoo 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.

According to a report by 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.