Tanzania govt buys gemstones from Maasai tribesman for $3.34 million

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Two large Tanzanite gemstones are shown at a ceremony in Manyara region in Tanzania, June 24, 2020. (Xinhua)

A 51-year-old Tanzanian Maasai tribesman has discovered two large Tanzanite gemstones with a total weight of about 14 kilograms, authorities said on Wednesday.

Two large Tanzanite gemstones are shown at a ceremony in Manyara region in Tanzania, June 24, 2020. /Xinhua

Doto Biteko, the Minister of Minerals, collected the gemstones from the small-scale miner and handed him a cheque of 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 3.34 million U.S. dollars) on behalf of the government at a ceremony in Manyara region.

Biteko said President John Magufuli directed that the government should buy the two gemstones and place them in the National Museum in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam where tourists can admire them.

Without mentioning the date on which the small-scale miner discovered the two gemstones, Biteko thanked the miner for agreeing to sell the gemstones to the government.

In September 2017, President Magufuli ordered the army to construct a wall around the Tanzanite mining area in the north of the country as part of the government’s effort to protect the precious gemstone from being smuggled out of the mining site.

 

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