President John Magufuli has ordered the army to build walls around Tanzania’s mines.
“All tanzanite gemstones will be controlled and will pass through one gate,” said Magufuli in a statement, adding that the walls will control illegal mining and trading activities.
This is the latest twist in a spat with mining firms over alleged tax evasion.
“Even if someone swallows some tanzanite gemstones, they will be detected at the proposed checkpoint,” Magufuli said.
“Tanzania gets just 5 percent of revenues from the global tanzanite trade – all the rest of this precious gemstone benefits other people abroad. This is unacceptable.”
In addition, Magufuli directed the country’s central bank to take part in the tanzanite buying trade.
Tanzania accuses mining firms of cheating, out of a fair share of mineral wealth through tax dodging and smuggling, allegations government denies.
Tanzania overhauled the legal, regulatory and fiscal framework governing the mining sector with three new laws in July, sending stock in foreign-owned mining companies plunging.
The new laws established a National Gold and Gemstone Reserve under the control of the central bank.