Tanzanite to be mined for well over ten decades - miner


Contrary to recent speculations that tanzanite will deplete in less than a decade to come, the rare blue gems mined at Mererani in the northern part of the country are there to stay for over a hundred years.
“With responsible mining and careful digging tanzanite deposits can last over a hundred years,” explained Tanzanite-One Limited acting chief operating officer Wessel Marais
Marais’ company has been conducting series a about surveys on the tanzanite, the gemstone that is only found beneath the Mirerani hills, in Simanjiro District, right at the border of Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions.
The official admitted that from the surveys, they have ruled out any possibility of having the deposits elsewhere in northern Tanzania, but said there were possibilities of finding other important minerals.
He stressed: "With responsible mining and careful digging tanzanite deposits in the Mererani hills can last over a hundred years.


Tanzanite, said to be ten-times rarer than diamonds, may be elusive to some miners but that does not mean it is about to be extinct and with careful planning, experts believe it could be a lifetime investment safely stored in the Mirerani underground.
“There is no need for rush because the gemstone is only found in Tanzania. We can be extracting it on installment basis to extend the rare minerals’ shelf life, and it is very possible to have tanzanite for the next ten decades,” Marais said.
The firm’s Corporate Governance Manager and Company Secretary, Lusekelo Mwakalukwa said responsible mining can only be accomplished if both artisanal miners and large scale quarry operators at Mererani work together.
“For years there have been animosity between small and large scale miners with the latter regarding the former as enemies,” he revealed.
He added that as long as they are all concerned with the future of tanzanite-based mining industry, they have no choice other than to work together.
“As miners of the world’s rarest gemstones we are faced with many challenges and have many major problems to address other than fighting between ourselves. Once united we can turn around the tanzanite industry into an international prestige similar to what De-Beers and Tiffany have so far accomplished,” Mwakalukwa said.
Tanzanite mining earns the government approximately USD20m (30bn/-) every year. But the processed blue gems, is sold mostly in the US where it commands an annual market share of USD500m.
On the other hand, ten of thousands of people depend on tanzanite for a living in the northern zone and the country at large.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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