Tanzania : a wall for more ethics

Tanzania is the number one producer of Tanzanite worldwide. Despite this production, Tanzania only ranks third for exportation, with 38 million dollars, behind India (Around 300 million dollars) and Kenya (approximately 100 million dollars).

The Tanzanian president, John Magufuli inaugurated what was named a « wall of protection » encircling the Tanzanite mines on April 6th. Work began in November 2017 and ended with two months advance in February 2018 for a total cost of 3.5 million dollars. This wall, measuring 24 kilometres and protecting a surface of 82,2 square kilometres can resist floods and also has security cameras. Sophisticated instruments allow the detection of all hidden gemstones, even those swallowed by the minors! This wall is of one of the propositions held in the « Tucson Tanzanite Protocol » drafted in 2003, the goal of which being to reposition ethical matters at the heart of the business. In light of these new measures, the minors employed previously under precarious daily contracts are now given work contracts and have identity cards they must present to access the mines.

After the wall’s official opening, The President announced the possibility for a second one that would be built around bloc C, one of the exploitation zones. This bloc is the most productive source for Tanzanite, extracting 54 000 tons per year.  According to the research of Robert Grafen-Greany, this parcel could produce Tanzanite gemstones for the next 25 years. The President also mentioned another source that has not been officially declared.

This wall’s general purpose is to eradicate Tanzanite smuggling. The State evaluated the loss of profit in terms of tax to 90 billion dollars since 1998. Indeed, only 25 out of 1700 mining companies present in the country actually pay their taxes. The mining industry represents 4% of the GDP. On a global scale, Tanzania is the third exporter behind India and Kenya. Yet, tanzanite is extracted almost exclusively in Tanzania and Kenya, where it was discovered in 1967.

Since the building of the wall, the government has perceived four times more taxes than in 2017.