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Tanzania Gemological Centre

Tanzania is endowed with diverse mineral resources which include, inter alia, gold and base-metal occurrences, diamonds, a variety of coloured gemstones (ruby, sapphire, emerald, sun stone, moon stone, garnets, tourmaline, etc) and a variety of industrial minerals and rocks such as kaolin, diatomite, bentonite and ball clay in different rock formations. Apart from gold, diamond and industrial minerals, Tanzania is the main source of coloured gemstones in the world including the extremely rare gemtanzanite.

Tanzanite is found and extracted only from Mererani, Tanzania on the foothills of the highest mountain in Africa - The Kilimanjaro. Currently, these minerals especially gemstones are exported in rough form without adding any value to them except tanzanite weighing 1 gm and above that have to be cut and polished before being exported. As a result, employment to the cutting industry is exported to India, Hong Kong and Thailand where most of these rough gemstones are exported to. In order to reverse this trend, the Mineral Policy of 2009 has underscored the need to develop the local capacity to cut and polish gemstones and to have established Jewelry making Centers in order to add value to the country’s minerals particularly gemstones.

Value addition activities in minerals create employment, improve local skills in mining industry and increase income. These benefits can be realized if and only if value addition activities are undertaken within the country. However, to be able to carry out value addition activities locally, it is important to have the necessary technical skills, access to capital and adequate infrastructure and facilities.

In promoting value-added activities in gemstones, The Government of United Republic of Tanzania through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) has established Tanzania Gemological Centre (TGC) to promote and facilitate value addition activities in Tanzania in line with the Mineral Policy of Tanzania, which emphasizes value addition activities on minerals. Currently, the Centre is in the final stages of rehabilitation and refurbishment and has procured some of tools, equipment and machines including 20 faceting machines, 4 trimming machines, 4 stone carving machines, 6 bead making machines and 3 cabochon machines. The Centre is currently running a lapidary course to a class of 15 female students in collaboration with Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (TAMIDA) since November, 2014. This class is taught by a highly experienced instructor in lapidary and jewelry design & manufacturing from Sri Lanka. The course will have at least 24 weeks of study (six months) in order to achieve better outcomes. This programme will produce graduates, who are selfenterprising and able to meet the challenges of the gemstone industry in the country. Also, it will develop selfrealization and entrepreneurship skills that will enable the graduates to be self employed and result into socioeconomic development.

Other courses on the pipeline includes: -

  • The science of gemology
  • Jewelry design and manufacturing
  • Ornamental stone working (carving, tumbling, beading)
  • Gemstone treatments

Also, a Gemstone Testing Laboratory and Gem & Jewelry museum will be established.