The First International Tender Auction for rough and cut Tanzanite organized by the Government of Tanzania generated almost USD3.5m.
The auction was held in Arusha, northern Tanzania, on August 9th–12th 2016.
A total of 330,553.17 grams of rough and 3,274.70 carats of cut Tanzanite was brought for sale by 5 Tanzanite mining companies: Tanzaniteone Mining Company Ltd, Franone Mining and Gems Company, Tanzanite Africa Ltd, Chusa Mining Ltd and Laizer & Partners.
43 companies attended the tender auction, from 8 countries including Tanzania, Kenya, India, China, the US, the UK, Thailand and the UAE.
After the tendering process, 96% of all rough Tanzanite and 100% of cut Tanzanite tendered were sold.
A total of 318,033.17 grams of rough and 3,274.70 of cut Tanzanite was sold for USD2.9m and USD547,786 respectively, while the Government earned USD173,203 in royalties.
The Tanzanian Government has held the auction in an attempt to curb tanzanite smuggling.
James Mdoe, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Tanzania, explained that with local auctions, trafficking tanzanite to neighboring countries would be contained because buyers would have the opportunity to come and purchase them personally.
He added that through the auction, revenue would be collected more easily since the auction takes place in one area.
Tanzanite is found at only one location in the world, the Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania.
The production of tanzanite rose by 17% during 2008–2013, from 768t to 900t, while discovered reserves amount to 500m carats.
In 2015 tanzanite exports reached USD4.4m and generated USD223,979 in royalties.
The Government of Tanzania also intends to set a Tanzanite Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Mererani Hills, which is expected to further reduce tanzanite smuggling.