PRESIDENT Samia Suluhuu Hassan yesterday ordered the Minister for Minerals, Mr Dotto Buteko along with experts and investors in the mining sector to form an umbrella organisation that will oversee the Tanzanite business.
Speaking shortly after inaugurating the gold refinery plant in Mwanza, the Head of State said there is need for the government to ensure the precious stones are not sold by agents and businesspersons from a far and who have not been approved by the government.
President Samia said while Tanzanite is found only in Tanzania, it has been sold in several countries, with the country of origin not ripping benefits from the business.
“We have been witnessing a number of businesspersons from other nations selling Tanzanite, but we all know that these minerals are only found here, we must therefore come up with a mechanism to control and protect Tanzanite in a proper way,” she said.
Ms Samia said the umbrella organization must have the power to control the selling of Tanzanite, noting the move will add value and brand the country as the only producer of the precious minerals across the world.
“With that particular body, it is obvious nobody will be able to buy Tanzanite in a black market or from any unauthorized person, all Tanzanite stones will be released through a special system that will be set by the organization,” she said.
According to President Samia, proper control and protection of Tanzanite will enable the government through the organization to dictate price and the amount to be sold.
“I would like to ask the minister to discuss with his experts and other stakeholders on the proper means to control and protect our Tanzanite, we need to rebrand it and tell the world that the stones originate only from Tanzania,” she ordered.
In April, this year, President Samia exposed new tactics of smuggling Tanzanite at Mirerani mines in Manyara region by unscrupulous businessmen and demanded enhanced security to curb the malpractice.
She was speaking at State House in Dar es Salaam shortly after swearing in seven Permanent Secretaries, nine deputy permanent secretaries and three heads of public organizations.
The Head of State said smugglers were digging underground channels through which they smuggle Tanzanite out of the 24.5- kilometre perimeter wall that surrounds the mines.
“We have Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) soldiers protecting the site but yet minerals are smuggled out,” said President Samia.
She expressed her dismay over the trend calling the Ministry to reinforce security despite a successful installation of 24-hour surveillance CCTV cameras on the perimeter wall.
She also took issue with mineral smuggling at Block C, which is partly owned by Stamico.
She urged the Ministry of Minerals to be extra vigilant in protecting minerals. In July 2017, the fifthphase President, the late Dr John Magufuli ordered for the construction of a 24.5 kilometres wall around the Tanzanite mines.
He gave the order when he toured the Northern Zone regions including Manyara.
The wall was inaugurated a few months later. According to the government, the revenues from Tanzanite increased tremendously and the successes were attributed to the construction of the wall.