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Illegal Tourmaline mining operation closed down

31/07/2015

Assets worth up to £10 million were seized by police together with the arrest of 6 men after an investigation into a criminal organisation illegally mining Paraiba’s most precious gemstone tourmaline.

The unlawful organisation, which allegedly consisted of several businessmen and a state legislator, was said to have used an intricate network of offshore companies in order to negotiate the sale of Paraiba tourmaline as well as to launder money.

According to a separate translated MPF statement, the “glowing blue” colour and other unique characteristics of the Paraiba tourmaline had resulted in high demand for the gemstone. It was also said that Paraiba tourmaline had been used by international brands such as Tiffany & Co and Dior.

“It is estimated that a one-carat stone sells on average for US$30,000 (AU$38,563) and can sell up to US$100,000 (AU$128,534), depending on the characteristics of the gemstone,” the statement read. “The black market for the stone has generated a millionaire movement of illicit capital in Brazil and abroad.”

The largest ever Paraiba tourmaline found was valued at approximately £80million and had a carat weight of 191.87ct which was named the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba. Although tourmaline comes in many colours and from countries worldwide the Paraiba tourmaline is seen as the finest with a distinct blue green colour.

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