Tanzanite Mine Flood ~ The BIG one!
On Good Friday in 1998, the gemstone world learned of a very tragic event that occurred in the tanzanite mines in northern Tanzania. After El Niņo rains blanketed the region for many days, several of the shaft mines, some as deep as 1000 feet, flooded with water and mine tailings, killing over 160 miners. This occurred outside the town of Mbuguni at Merelani Hill, which is approximately 25 miles SE of Arusha.
Since the time of the tanzanite mining disaster and after a thorough governmental investigation as to its cause, many more safe-guards have been put into place in daily production. Of the 14 new regulations that were put into place before mining resumed, many have been ignored. The use of safety equipment and gear is reported to be better, but not all miners are yet in compliance. One good report approximately a year later said that mine tailings at shaft entrances had been removed for the most part and roofs have been constructed over mine entrances.
Tanzanites are only found in one place in the World and are mined by the locals with very primitive methods.