While in Tucson this year, we heard from one of our African sources that there were issues within Tanzania and that the government was
trying to control the rough. It seemed as if there was an attempt by those involved, to get into the loop for monetary gain, vs. a
real reason to control rough within the borders. Below, is a re-post found on Facebook (June/July 2018 timeframe), which seems to have originated
from a person who has been traveling into Tanzania for rough.
Also, further below are more up to date comments from a native living in Kenya who sells fine rough. He had more details which we are happy to share with our customers who include the public, jewelery stores, goldsmiths, investors, collectors and rough buyers...
"The rough ban continues - continues longer than most people expected. At first, mining continued and the major brokers kept buying. Then, the brokers would only buy special stones. Eventually the mining slowed to a crawl and the only stones available were from miners who had held back rough as a kind of savings account. Now it is almost impossible to find stones in Tanzania. Added to this are several prominent brokers having been arrested and then released.
In Tanzania the major stone trading cities are Arusha and Dar es Salaam. The major brokers in these cities have/had satellite buying offices near the mining activity. For instance Mahenge has/had several buying offices. Within the last few months those satellite offices have begun to close down. I began to receive word a few weeks back that the government was shutting down mining activity too, first in Mahenge and now in Morogoro with Tunduru coming next. I'm told the shut down is temporary until all the mining districts can be put into the same "system". Asking what that means, I'm told satellite buying offices will no longer be allowed, so no more buying offices located near mining activities. Instead, local small brokers -the strong assumption is local Tanzanians- will be used as the middle men to bring the stones to the major trading centers. Again, it's assumed this is for tighter control of the gems.
The rough trade in Tanzania has been completely crippled. This hasn't been felt much on the consumer side but that day is close at hand if things don't straighten themselves out."
Directly from Kenya and within the past week or so, we have the following update from a native Kenyan who travels the area and crosses the border into Tanzania, seeking rough....
(So can you provide me an update on what has been going on with the rough and cut gems from Tanzania and where it stands now?)
Tanzania is still strict on rough exports I don't see them changing their minds either now or in the near future...
(So what is the export policy currently?)
The only accept cut and polished stones export.
(Paraphrasing above - Exports from Tanzania can only be cut and polished gems - no rough)
(Sent our contact/friend the above article obtained from Facebook for perusal and feedback)
That's true for sure it's difficult to find rough stones now. I think there will be a big shortage of garnets in Tucson next year. (2019) Especially clean clean material.
(So the bottom line is that rough is not available in Tanzania. It must be cut locally and therefore faceted stones are available in Tanzania with no problems, it's only the rough.)
Not really since for one to be allowed to own a faceting office he or she must have faceting machines...30 faceting machines.
(Okay so I guess that's not common and therefore even faceted stones in Tanzania are now an issue. Correct?)
So what does this mean for gemstones from Africa/Tanzania, which has many very important deposits of gems/minerals found no where else on the planet? Two words - Higher Prices....