Tanzanian Government Defends Tanzanite Trade

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(Rapaport…January 24, 2002) Tanzania’s minister of Energy and Resources, E.D. Maokola-Majogo, sent formal, written confirmation to International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) President Israel Eliezri, assuring that individuals engaging in the export of tanzanite from Tanzania are doing so according to licenses issued to them by state authorities. The minister was responding to a letter he received from Eliezri, in which he expressed ICA members’ concern over recent reports in the press about allegations that the proceeds from tanzanite are financing terrorist organizations.

In his written reply, the Maokola-Majogo noted that almost all tanzanite mined at Merelani, the country’s primary tanzanite deposit, is sold to licensed gemstone dealers and exported through formal channels. “Every shipment is examined by government officials, stamped with a government seal and then issued with an official export permit,” the minister wrote.

The minister urged the ICA to send a fact-finding mission to Tanzania to examine for itself the situation at Merelani.

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