9 November 2017

Tanzania: Govt Reaps 1.6bn/ - in Single Diamond Auction

EFFORTS by the government to bring sanity to the mining sector have started paying off after collecting revenue amounting to over 1.6bn/- from a single consignment of diamond.

Speaking to the press in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, Minister of Minerals, Ms Angela Kairuki said last month Williamson Diamond Limited, a company that operates at Mwadui in Shinyanga, produced 39,567.96 carats of diamond that fetched 10.261 million US dollars (over 22bn/-) at the Antwerp market in Belgium on Tuesday, this week.

According to the Minister, the total revenue that the government collected in terms of royalty and inspection fees from the sales amounted to 718,288.97 US dollars (about 1.6bn/-), thanks to the amendments made to the mining laws, this year.

An interesting piece of information from the Minister's report had it that one single piece of diamond from the consignment branded as pink diamond weighing 5.92 carats (about 1.184 grams) fetched 2 million US dollars (about 4.51bn/).

The Minister said that before the consignment was ferried to Antwerp market in Belgium it underwent initial evaluation process involving government officials, getting a provisional value of 8.191million US dollars ( over 18bn/-).

Ms Kairuki said based on the provisional valuation of the consignment the royalty has been pegged at 491,498.70 US dollars (over 1.091bn/-) while the inspection or clearance fee was estimated at 81,916.45 US dollars (over 180 million/-), bringing the total government revenue from the provisional valuation to 573,418.15 US dollars(over 1.3bn/-).

She said that on October 20, 2017 the consignment was transported to Antwerp market in Belgium, accompanied by government officials for auctioning. She added that on Tuesday (November 7, 2017) the consignment was auctioned, fetching 10.261 million US dollars (over 22 bn/), an increase of 2.069 million US dollars (over 4bn/-), equivalent to 20.16 per cent.

According to the Minister, the success recorded in handling the diamond cargo resulted from the implementation of the new law on mining which, among other things, increased royalties from five to seven per cent.

The new law also imposed a one per cent inspection fee payable from the total market value of the cargo. Ms Kairuki said the government gave permission to Williamson Diamond to proceed with mining operations at Mwadui after seizing the previous consignment in August.

Petra owns a 75 per cent stake in Williamson Diamonds while Tanzanian government owns 25 per cent. The company, having produced the second consignment it sought permission from the government to sell it.

"We accepted their request to have the diamond sold, that is why today we are giving you these figures," the Minister said.

The Minister made it clear that the cargo sold at the auction in Belgium on Tuesday was different from the consignment of diamond, weighing 71,000 carats seized at Julius Nyerere International Airport on August 31, this year, on its way to Belgium.

"This cargo we are talking about is different from the diamond we seized in August.The valuation process of the diamond seized last August is still underway," the Minister said.

Commissioner of Minerals, Mr Benjamin Mchwampaka chipped in to explain why the valuation process of the seized diamond was taking too long saying, "We are taking too long in these verification and valuation processes because we want every side to be satisfied with the outcomes."

Meanwhile, the Minister spoke of the four Chinese nationals who were arrested on October 20, 2017 for allegedly possessing gold sand, saying they will face charges in court.

She said after seizure of the gold sand, the experts at the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) assessed it before it was established that what the Chinese national were transporting was indeed gold sand.

She said the ministry will continue to ensure every person follows the rules and regulations governing the mining sector.

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