Tanzania Reports Record $63 Million in Diamond Exports Despite Williamson Mines Closure

Tanzania Diamond mines
Tanzania Diamond mines

The Bank of Tanzania announced that the country’s diamond exports increased significantly to $63.1 million (USD) in value by November 2022. This is more than seven times of the $8.4 million export value that was recorded in the year-over year analysis since November 2021.

The good performance of the company has been attributed to the country’s diamond producer Williamson Mines which has temporarily shut down operations due to a recent tailings breach on November 7, 2022. The mine is an open pit operation located on the 146-hectare Mwadui kimberlite pipe, which is one of the world’s largest economic kimberlites.

The company belongs to the parent company Petra Diamonds, which owns 75 percent of the company, and the Tanzanian government owns the remainder. According to Petra’s official statement, production at the Williamson mine will resume in the 2024 fiscal year.

Source: Petra

Tanzania confiscates diamonds from British mining company

Tanzania confiscates diamonds

The Tanzanian government has announced the seizure of diamonds worth an estimated $29.5 million after accusing British company Petra Diamonds, of undervaluing the worth of the gems.

Minister of Finance Philip Mpango stated on Sunday that he had “nationalized” these diamonds, extracted from the Williamson Diamonds mine, 75% owned by Petra Diamonds and 25% by the Tanzanian government.

The diamonds were seized on 31 August at the Dar es Salaam International Airport while being exported to Belgium.

According to the Tanzanian authorities, Williamson Diamonds’ documents indicated an estimated cargo of $14.7 million, while the actual value of diamonds, deliberately undervalued, was $29.5 million.

“Williamson Diamonds documents give these diamonds a value of $14.7 million (pre-market) while the actual value is $29.5 million,” the Finance Ministry said in a release Saturday.

On Thursday, two former senior mining officials, quoted in parliamentary reports on alleged embezzlement linked to diamond mining and trading, resigned on the orders of President John Magufuli.

Former Minister of Mines, George Simbachawene, who until his resignation was Minister of State for Local Government, and the former head of the National Mining Company (STAMICO), Edwin Ngonyani, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport until Thursday.

The two ministers resigned at the orders of President Magufuli, who had just received the findings of two parliamentary reports that put them in question.

President Magufuli demanded that all current government officials be blamed for this case and leave without waiting for them to be dismissed.

Nicknamed “Tingatinga” (bulldozer in Swahili), President Magufuli has marked the spirits since taking office at the end of 2015 by being inflexible in the fight against corruption.

He hired a tug of war with the large foreign mining companies operating in Tanzania, after a parliamentary report accused them of dumping their production, resulting in a tens of billions of dollars in taxes and royalties since 1998.

But Mr. Magufuli’s unconscious and abrupt style also earned him the title of autocrat and populist by his detractors, while freedom of expression is increasingly reduced in the country.