Tanzanite Political Stability
For local tanzanite miners, when it comes to tanzanite, the process of obtaining any type of permit to mine can be expected to be met with a great deal of resistence. One only needs to look at the history of Afgem (Johannesburg) to determine this. Before TanzaniteOne Ltd. purchased all of Afgem's interests, there existed a great deal of turmoil between the local miners and commercial tanzanite mining operations.
Afgem, as history goes, mined an approximate 8 square kilometer area at Merelani some 100km northeast of Arusha, TZ and this was known as Block C. They had been approved by the government and conducted tanzanite mining operations since the early part of 2000. Their plans were, at the time, noteworthy and they had already invested millions of dollars in their venture. The local miners, however, didn't appreciate Afgem's presence and often accused them of trying to force them out by creating a monopolistic environment. The newspapers were replete with stories of digruntled miners who feared that their only source of income would be jeopardized. The complaints, seemingly, were not unfounded since Afgem laser branded all of the tanzanites that they exported. The small-scale tanzanite miners were unable to afford this type of branding equipment and the result was that many of their stones were mislabeled as fake or synthetic. The perception was that this was a form of strong-arming the local tanzanite miners out of the business, since the rough they mined could not be sold.
Then...there were some in the media, feeding off the fervor of allegations espoused by local tanzanite miners, that tried to link Afgem's alleged strong-arming issue with that of introducing apartheid, which the good citizens of Tanzania openly rejected (segregation). This perception created an uproar in mining communities, but was seemingly dismissed in the mainstream global media outlets.
As if the local issues in Tanzania were not enough, in 2002 in response to an article that ran in the WSJ (November, 2001) alleging that supporters of major terrorists were involved in "tanzanite smuggling," the U.S. State Department iissued a statement that there was no link between the tanzanite industry and terrorism. This lifted a standing boycott of the gem by US jewelers and the gemstone was again marketed in the USA.
There are many more articles available online if you would like to study the politics of tanzanite further. Additional information will be posted here if deemed important.
In 2005, all tanzanites sold in the USA are sold under "The 2002 Tucson Protocol" which essentially states that the contents of shipped/invoiced tanzanite parcels have been mined in Tanzania and have been traded through legitimate sources. The seller warrants that the proceeds from the sale of tanzanite are/were used for legitimate purposes. The seller affixes the tanzanite warranty sticker to all tanzanite they sell.
eTanzanite.com only purchases tanzanite from warranted and genuine parcels. All of our shipments' invoices have the warranty sticker attached and we do not purchase tanzanite from dealers who will not provide this information to us. Please click here for more information on the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol. A new window will open to the AGTA site, so please disable your pop-up blocker.