Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, announced that his country has discovered a new tanzanite reserve, a rare occurrence and the first since 1967.
The striking blueish purple gemstone is found exclusively in the Merelani foothills of mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It is one world’s ten rarest and most expensive stones.
Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism, alternating between blue, violet and burgundy depending on crystal orientation.
Scientifically known as blue ziosite, this gemstone in its rough state tanzanite is colored a reddish brown to clear, and requires due processing to unveil the real colour.
This latest discovery, is presumed to strike a global interest in the gemstone industry, as there have been growing concerns that the world’s supply of tanzanite may be depleted before 2038.
While disputing the general concerns of depletion in the near future, Magufuli speculated that the reserve has the capacity to produce over 1,760 million tonnes tanzanite and would still be in existence beyond a quarter century to come.
An estimated two million carats of tanzanite have been mined in Tanzania since the first discovery in 1967 by Jumanne Ngoma in the Merelani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania. And the world’s largest rough tanzanite was a 16,839 carat (3.38 kg, or 7.46 lb).
However, in a bid to spur development of local processing factories, grow the economy and recoup profit, Tanzania government has banned the export of unprocessed tanzanite weighing over a gram.
In 2011, Tanzanite One Mining Ltd, a company that the government has a 50 percent stake in produced tanzanite worth about 2.4 million carats, earning them $24 million.