Kairuki: Tanzanite gemstone needs better global marketing

Sunday September 26 2021
Tanzanite pic

The unique tanzanite gemstone is only found in Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE

By The Citizen Reporter

Tanzania’s ambassador to China, Mbelwa Kairuki has called for improved advertising for the local unique gemstone Tanzanite on the global market.

According to the envoy, despite being a rare gemstone, Tanzanite is not on the top 10 list of most popular gemstones in China. He attributes this poor performance to lack of enough marketing for the gemstone from its place of provenance. “With proper marketing, Tanzanite can become one of the most valued gemstones globally,” he said during a dialogue on a social audio space Kumekucha on Clubhouse yesterday.

Further advising on how to improve Tanzanite’s performance on the global market, Kairuki said there’s a need to install processing machines for the gemstone, hence adding its value and making it more marketable. He said at the moment some of the mined Tanzanite is processed in India and sold in New York, thus making it hard for one to trace its place of origin.

To further improve the gemstone’s performance, Kairuki cautioned on the fake Tanzanite made in China and exported to Tanzania. “We need to curb these illicit trades of the precious gemstone,” he said.

In this endeavor, former President the late John Magufuli in September 2018 ordered the army to construct a wall around Tanzanite mining areas from Block A to D.

A 24 km wall surrounding Mirerani Tanzanite mining area was erected.

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Further to this, the government formulated “The Mining (Mirerani Controlled area) Regulation 2019” with the purpose of ensuring high security, effective management of the mining activities and environmental issues in/and around the wall.

On 30th May 2019 former government spokesperson Dr. Hassan Abbas published summary of Tanzanite production and its revenue collected before and after construction of the wall. The data showed a significant increase in revenue collection, indicating effectiveness of the strict monitoring and control of mining activities.

Data obtained from tanzanite miners at Mererani in June this year showed how that market prices for the gemstone have gone down by up to 60 percent during the past two years when the world was grappling with the global Covid-19 pandemic. The price went from Sh1 million per gram before the Covid-19 pandemic down to Sh400,000. However, also adding to the poor performance of the gemstone according to the data are reasons associated with poor distribution of the minerals in world markets, random mining and the lack of a single entity or a large company to control the trading of the mineral.