Mirerani. Minerals minister Dotto Biteko yesterday laid the foundation stone for the construction of a one-stop Tanzanite gemstone auctioning mall in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, which will cost the government Sh1.148 billion.
The move is part of the measures the government is taking to ensure no Tanzanite gemstone is smuggled out of the country.
The project will be implemented by Suma JKt, which is an economic wing of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF).
Among other things, the mall will house a brokers’ lounge, where miners will be selling their gemstone, and financial institutions.
This means that upon completion of the project no gemstone will be taken to Arusha or other regions for auctioning.
The implementation of the project is expected to be completed in the next six months.
The centre would ease and control the buying of minerals and ensure mineral traders paid the required dues to the government.
Speaking during the ceremony, Mr Biteko urged Suma JKT to make sure that implementation of the project was completed within the set time.
The implementation of the project is in line with the government agreement with Suma JKT for the later to establish seven mining centres of excellence by December this year.
The centres, which will be established in Bariadi, Musoma, Chunya, Songea, Mpanda, Handeni and within Madini College in Dodoma, will cost the government Sh11.97 billion.
Earlier on Mr Biteko directed Starfix Enterprises, a contractor, who won the tender of installing CCTV cameras around the Mirerani wall, so as to exercise more control and ensure none of the gemstone got smuggled out.
Government and the contractor are expected to sign the contract for the job on February 22, but Mr Biteko said the work should start immediately, however, he couldn’t specify how long it would take the company to execute the project.
According to the permanent sectary at the Ministry of Minerals, Prof Simon Msanjila, the implementation of the project will cost the government Sh1.2 billion.
Speaking to miners at State House last month, President John Magufuli directed Mr Biteko to make sure that the cameras and scanning machines were installed around the wall on time otherwise he would not hesitate to sack him.
President Magufuli commissioned the Mirerani wall on April 7, last year as part of his efforts to make sure that Tanzanians benefitted more from tanzanite gemstone, which are only found in the country.