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Petra To Restart Diamond Exports From Tanzania, Settles SA Wage Strike

Petra's Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania

Petra Diamonds said on Wednesday that the Tanzanian government has allowed it to resume export and sale of diamonds from its Williamson Mine. However, the company’s dispute with the government over a 71,000-carat parcel of rough seized last Monday continues.

Petra has valued the parcel at nearly $15 million, while the government continues to insist that it is actually worth $29.5 million.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Petra on Thursday said that it had reached a three-year pay agreement with South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The agreement allows NUM members a wage increase of between 9 and 10 percent for one year and 8.5 percent for the remaining two.

In Tanzania, however, Petra’s problems mirror those of other international miners including Tanzanite One, which mines the tanzanite gemstone and has had its Mirerani mine cordoned off by police, and Barrick Gold-owned Acacia Mining, one of Africa’s largest gold producers, which has been subjected to a similar wrongdoing investigation.

So severely have the investigations impacted Acacia, that it has decided to reduce operations in Tanzania. The country is Africa’s fourth largest gold producer and mining contributes 3.5 percent to its GDP. The government, however, wants to increase the revenue from the mining sector.

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