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Africa moving to increase mineral value addition with DRC looking to process cobalt for lithium batteries. Photo/GibbsFarm


Tanzanite is a precious stone said to be a thousand times rare than the rarest diamond. True to that claim, the tanzanite gemstone is mined in only one location in the world; a small area in Simanjiro District in Tanzania.

Given the scarcity of tanzanite you would expect that the single mining country, Tanzania would be stock rich, or at least earn the lion’s share of what the gem is valued.

This is not the case. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Tanzanite trade globally earns USD 500 million a year, but Tanzania’s export revenues are a paltry USD 20.75 million, or equivalent to 4.15 percent of the global export value!

Also Read: Tanzania: Small scale miners double in a year

The overwhelming question is why and more importantly how can the situation be resolved? how can Tanzania increase its earnings from its monopoly mining of tanzanite?