Tanzania has collected Tsh615 million ($270,000) as royalty from tanzanite small-scale miners in the first three months of 2018.
This, the government says, is $100,000 more than the total collected in the last three years.
Minerals minister Angellah Kairuki said the increase (59 per cent) arose after government introduced controls to curb illegal mining of the blue-violet gemstone that is only found in Tanzania.
Last year, a parliamentary committee investigated tanzanite mining and reported that there was massive smuggling. The investigation revealed that the country only received 5.2 per cent of revenues from global tanzanite trade over the past decade.
Last September, President John Magufuli ordered the military to build a 24km-long wall with security cameras and checkpoints around tanzanite mining site in the northern region to control illegal mining and trading activities. He inaugurated the Great Mirerani Wall in April.
“Due to such steps, the government collected Tsh714.67 million ($313,000) as royalty for three months with Tsh614.67 million ($270,000) being from artisanal tanzanite miners,” Ms Kairuki told parliament on Thursday.
She was tabling her ministry’s budget for the 2018/2019 financial year which starts in July.
Ms Kairuki said the government had collected Tsh147.14 million ($64,700) in royalties from the small-scale miners in 2017, Tsh71.86 million ($31,600) in 2016 and Tsh166.85 million ($73,400) in 2015.
The Minerals budget has increased from Tsh52.445 billion ($23 million) in the current financial year to Tsh58.9 billion ($26 million).
Ms Kairuki said her ministry has only received 36 per cent of the current budget, released in March, and 3.8 per cent of the development budget.
Tanzania is overhauling its laws in the mining sector to enable it get a bigger slice of the pie from its vast mineral resources.