Arusha (Tanzania) – Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday directed the country’s army to build a perimeter wall around Tanzanite mine site in northern part of the East African country to control theft and smuggling of precious gemstones.
The Tanzanian leader gave the directive at the inauguration of a 26-km road linking the mine site and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
He directed the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and the income generating arm of the national service (SUMA-JKT) to build a 13-square-kilometer fence surrounding Tanzanite mining area in Mirerani area, Simanjiro District in Manyara Region.
He said “construction work should start immediately; we have to protect our natural resources so that it benefit all Tanzanians.”
Magufuli also suggested the need for the wall to be installed with electrical wire and fixed with surveillance cameras on its four corners, and have single entrance gate.
The move, according to the president, is to monitor suspicious activities within the site’s block A and D, areas believed to house huge amount of minerals.
The president said the move was aimed at controlling tanzanite minerals explored in the area, noting that the country had been losing millions of foreign currencies due to smuggling.
“I suggest that the gate be installed with modern detector machine that can spotlight any hidden substance,” he said.
The mining site is jointly owned and managed by a private firm — Sky Associates Ltd and the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), under the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, with each commanding 50 per cent share in the gemstones’ exploration in the area.
President Magufuli also ordered a review of all Tanzanite mine contracts that would enable an increase in the government’s royalty and speed up its socio-economic development.
According to the president, all tanzanite sales will henceforth be conducted at the mining site at Mererani.
He added that “I want to see buyers come directly here in Mererani to buy gemstone. This
will make government have record of all exported minerals.”
Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania in the Mererani Hills of the Manyara Region in the north of the country.
Tanzanite is mined from a single source in an area that is 2-kilometer wide and 4km long and divided into four blocks (A, B, C, and D) near Mount Kilimanjaro. (Xinhua/NAN)
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