TANZANIA PLANS MECHANISM TO NAB TANZANITE, GOLD SMUGGLERS

In a bid to halt tanzanite and gold smuggling in the country, the Tanzanian government through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals is on the drawing board to come up with a proper plan to regulate gem and smith dealers in the country.

This is after it had come to the authority's attention that most gems are smuggled as women ornaments for easier transportation without being caught.

"Through our desks positioned at Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Kilimanjaro airports, we have observed that women are being used to smuggle tanzanite gemstone and gold, seeing them wearing the precious jewels does not mean they are all legal," Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, said.

During a live broadcast programme aired by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Prof Muhongo said they were currently finding best ways to regulate the dealers in the country who are highly used in smuggling.

He said the government would tighten the noose on mineral smugglers, adding that it was obvious that the country made various mistakes in managing the sector in previous years due to lack of awareness, but it was high time to move forward. According to the minister, since 2012 through the desks in airports, they have so far nabbed more than 10 tonnes of Tanzanite and gold.

Meanwhile, the minister said on Sept 15 the government will provide grants to small scale miners' phase III that aims in developing small-scale mining activities in the country.

The minister explained that recently he spoke with the World Bank which has pledged to provide between $3 million (Tsh.6.6 billion) and $4 million (Tsh.8.8billion) and will be granted to different groups of miners in the country.

He added that the funds will also be used to develop seven centres of exploration and small-scale mining that will be chosen by the ministry after evaluating the areas that should be settled.

"A research will be conducted by the Agency of Geology Tanzania (GST) in those seven exemplary centres to determine the sediment of gold contained in the relevant area before being awarded to the miners," Professor Muhongo stressed.

He said they were looking for these grants so that miners could move into the extraction medium level that brings more productivity to them and to the nation.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK