Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 June 2010 – The government of Tanzania “’ the world’s only source of tanzanite “’ intends creating jobs and increasing earnings from the blue gemstone by banning the export of raw stones.
Revealing this to Bloomberg News in a telephone interview here, minerals and energy minister William Ngeleja said the ban, effective immediately, was part of the Mining Act and was aimed at increasing the contribution of the industry to Tanzania’s economy. Ngeleja declined to say how much revenue Tanzania earned from Tanzanite sales or how the ban would affect income.
Bloomberg reports that tanzanite “’ which is 1 000 times more rare than diamonds “’ is mined from the world’s only known deposit at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. Sales of the stone are under pressure as economic uncertainty dampens demand from jewellers and consumers of luxury goods in the United States, the largest buyer.
Tanzanite One Limited “’ the world’s largest tanzanite miner “’ is awaiting official notification of the ban from the government, chairman Ami Mpungwe told Bloomberg by mobile phone. “Until we get such a clearance, we cannot say anything concrete,” he added.
The company is focused on increasing tanzanite production and is targeting output of 2.2 million carats for 2010, CEO Bernard Olivier said in the Tanzanite One annual report, published on its website.
Mining provides direct employment for about 14 000 workers in Tanzania, Africa’s third-largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. About 42% of Tanzanian exports are minerals, mainly gold, as well as diamonds and tanzanite.