Tanzania president inaugurates wall around gem mines

2018-04-06 19:30
 John Magufuli (Khalfan Said, AP, File)

John Magufuli (Khalfan Said, AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday inaugurated a 24km wall around the country's tanzanite mines to prevent smuggling of the precious violet-blue stones, which are unique to the East African country.

Magufuli in September ordered the army to build the wall around the mines, located in the Mererani hills near Mount Kilimanjaro.

Several metres high, the mustard-yellow wall has only one entrance, which is secured by the army. It cost $2.2m, according to official figures.

"Before the construction of this wall, there was a lot of tanzanite being lost, about 40% of all production," Magufuli said during a ceremony transmitted on national television, referring to miners smuggling out the gems.

He highlighted a 2017 decision that from now on the wholesale of tanzanite must be carried out under the control of the Tanzanian Central Bank inside the new wall.

Prior to this decision, tanzanite was sold in Arusha and Nairobi.

The wall is the latest move by Magufuli - who swept to power in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform - to regulate the mining sector, which has faced allegations of fraud and underreporting of production and profits.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

A commission of enquiry set up by Magufuli estimated in June that $90bn had been lost in tax evasion arising from mining operations since 1998.

A parliamentary report published in September found that corruption and unfavourable contracts meant that the craze for tanzanite was mainly benefitting smugglers and mining operators.

Magufuli has locked horns with foreign mining companies, accusing them of under-valuing their production of gold, diamonds and tanzanite, resulting in a loss of billions of dollars in taxes and royalties since 1998.

Tanzanite was first found in the foothills of Kilimanjaro in 1967, although the discoverer is a matter of some dispute.

The Tanzanian government recognises a Maasai herdsman named Jumanne Ngoma who stumbled upon the distinctively-coloured gem; there are rival claims for another Maasai tribesman, Ali Juu Ya Watu, and a local prospector named Manuel de Souza.

Read more on:    tanzania  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.