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Tanzanite One, GR conflict resolution offers great relief to gemstone miners

TANZANITE miners have commended the government for ending a dispute pitting Tanzanite One against Gem and Rock Ventures Company Limited (GR) at Mirerani, in Simanjiro District. 

The one-year dispute virtually paralysed operations in the mines for almost a year. 

The bone of contention between the two mining companies was allegations of trespassing raised by Tanzanite One against Arusha-based GR. 

Tanzanite One, the largest gemstone mining firm in the country, accused GR of encroaching its boundary. 

The two mines which border one another have been in constant conflicts following underground encounters. 

But, speaking here yesterday, Tanzanite Miners Association Chairman Money Ahmed Yousuph lauded the then Minerals Deputy Minister Mr Dotto Biteko for recently touring the mines and resolving the conflict. Mr Biteko was yesterday promoted to full minister. 

The misunderstanding, according to Mr Yousuph not only forced GR to suspend its activities in Mirerani, but also deprived the government of revenues that could be accrued from the extraction of the precious gems. 

“Also on the losing end were the miners themselves who were rendered jobless when the conflict peaked,” explained the chairperson. 

He said the decision by the government to allow GR to resume operations in the area, was a big relief to some miners who went without jobs for almost a year. 

He called on companies responsible for the extraction of the precious gem only found in Tanzania to adhere to the rules and regulations that govern mining activities to avert further related conflicts. 

“As miners, we have a noble duty of conforming to the rules set forth by the responsible ministry,” he added. 

Manyara Regional Miners Association Chairman Justine Nyari described the government move as bold that seeks to protect the interests of miners in the country. 

Two years ago, one small miner, Lembris Mbatia from GR died while 13 others sustained injuries following scuffles between them and their Tanzanite One counterparts. 

Winding up his tour of the mines last week, Mr Biteko directed the minerals commissioner in Mirerani Township to allow resumption of operations at the mines with immediate effect. 

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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