Preparations are being finalized for an international gemstone fair to be held here in October this year, the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (Tamida) has announced.
The exhibition was earlier planned to take place in April but had to be postponed following delay in clearing of the show cases, donated by partners from the United States, in Dar es Salaam port.
Two of the major gemstone producing countries Mozambique and Madagascar had also requested dates of the show be pushed forward as they could not extract minerals following severe floods.
Tamida chairman Mr. Sammy Mollel said last week that efforts were underway to clear the cases, donated by the American Gem Traders Association, from the port. He could not disclose the storage charges so far incurred or the cost of the items.
The exhibition will take place at the Mt. Meru Hotel in Arusha from October 28th to 31st. A similar event was organized in April last year at the same venue.
According to Mr. Mollel, who is a prominent gemstone dealer in Arusha, the show is expected to attract major buyers of gemstones mined in Africa from across the world and 18 local firms.
Several countries in Africa will be represented and these include Mozambique and Madagascar which, according to the Tamida boss produce some of the highest quality gemstones ever found on the continent.
"Mozambique is rich in mineral resources. It has high quality rubies and tourmalines. Madagascar also mines rubies and sapphires but has unique pezzotite which is only found there and nowhere else", he said.
Other countries expected to participate in the four-day show are Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and others.
"We are currently mobilising more local mineral dealers and other SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) member countries to participate", the Tamida boss explained.
Internationally the event will attract big gemstone buyers from the US, Thailand, India, Germany, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
Mr. Mollel added that one of the objectives of the exhibition was to establish a Gem Centre for Africa in Arusha given the rich gemstone resources the area is endowed with, including the rare tanzanite mined at Mererani.
The exhibition will be organized by Tamida in collaboration with the ministry of Energy and Minerals and would cost about Sh. 450 million, according to the secretary of the preparatory committee Mr. Benjamin Muchwampaka.