Tanzanite dealers dispel gemstones’ smuggling rumours

TANZANITE miners and dealers now want perpetrators of false reports on smuggling and theft of the precious gemstones be seriously dealt with.

The players deemed such reports baseless and unfounded, calling on the government to take stern measures against such individuals.

Tanzania Mineral Dealer’s Association (TAMIDA) Chairperson Sammy Mollel warned that such reports would hurt the country’s status as the only source of the precious gemstones.

Mr Mollel, who was speaking after touring some of the mines at Simanjiro hills, maintained that there hasn’t been any mineral that was smuggled out of the country since the government opted to erect a 24-kilometre wall to prevent smuggling of the violet-blue stones.

“These are false reports peddled that wish to not only tarnish the good image of our country but drag this lucrative industry into disrepute,” argued the TAMIDA Chairperson.

Besides the parameter wall, the area has also been fitted with 24-hour surveillance CCTV cameras, making it even harder for anyone attempting to walk out of the perimeter wall with the stones.

Security intensification at Mirerani also included mounting of 25 station metal boxes on the perimeter wall and other buildings in the mines, Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables, a server and a control room to run the devices.

A mining officer at Simanjiro hills, Menard Msengi on his part said security had been intensified in the area, further diffusing rumours of the alleged smuggle.

“We don’t want to take anything to chance, that’s why this area remains secured all the time,” he said.

In September 2017, the then Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli directed the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to build a wall around Tanzanite mine site to control theft and smuggling of the precious gemstones.

The rare gem has seen the government pocket 1.42bn/- in revenues in 2020 compared to 238m/-, before the construction of the wall around the mines.

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