THERE are more than 1.76 billion tonnes of Tanzanite yet to be excavated and that the rare gemstones will still be mined in the next 25 years.
President John Magufuli revealed in Mirerani on Friday that at the current rate of extracting 54 tonnes per year, depleting the nearly 2 billion tonnes of the rare blue gemstones from the Block C' quarry alone will take up to 2042, but there is even bigger chance of fresh Tanzanite reserves to be found as time goes by.
"The research conducted in 2015, discovered that the Block C' quarries alone have a reserve of 1,750 million tonnes of Tanzanite underground," he said. Block C' is the mining plot from which the Tanzanite-One Limited operates.
The company is a joint venture between the government owned, State Mining Company (STAMICO) and Sky Associated Group owned by Tanzanians. "We have over 1,700 Tanzanite mining companies, but surprisingly we recently discovered that only 25 of these firms were paying revenues, the rest were enjoying tax-free bumper profits," said President Magufuli.
In another statement, the government intends to start a new type of tourism, focusing on minerals where visitors, both local and foreign will be touring mining ventures in the Northern and Lake Zones to learn how extraction and processing is done.
The Minister for Minerals, Ms Angela Kairuki, said the way forward now is to ensure that all minerals are cut and processed in the country, then afterwards, is to have gemstones auctioning centres, export zones and regular exhibitions to transform the mining sector from simply extractive industry into an attractive business capable of wooing tourists.
Tanzanite gemstones, despite being sold from other countries such as Kenya, India and South-Africa, are only found in Tanzania and particularly in Mirerani Hills of Simanjiro District, near Kilimanjaro International Airport. A few years ago, the government had directed that all Tanzanite gemstones be branded so that they can carry the country's trademark around the globe.