... .as State buys two crystals from small-scale miner at Mirerani
PRESIDENT John Magufuli's firm stance on the country's mineral resources has continued to yield positive results after a small scale miner at Mirerani Mines mined two Tanzanite crystals, both weighing 14 kilogrammes.
The government, through the Ministry of Finance and Planning, purchased both precious stones extracted at the only and famous Tanzanite Mines in Manyara Region at the value of 7,744,152,703.82/- .
The two gemstones that weighed nine and five kilogrammes, respectively, were mined by Mr Kurian Laizer, a Tanzanian who realised his dream and that of President Magufuli of converting poor Tanzanians into billionaires.
The President made a live call to Minerals Minister, Mr Dotto Biteko yesterday during the purchasing event, congratulated him for a job well done at the ministry and said the new record that has been set was a result of determination and support to small miners who he said can change the industry.
"That is the benefit of having small miners around. It has proved that we in Tanzania are rich people. I commend the Ministry of Minerals, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, regional commissioners for Arusha, Manyara and Kilimanjaro as well as Simanjiro residents for the efforts they invested in getting enrichment," said the President.
Speaking to the public through the phone, Dr Magufuli said it was the first time since the mines were established that such large pieces were mined and commended the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Central Bank, BoT Governor, Professor Florens Luoga, for procuring the historic crystals.
He commended Mr Laizer and said he was happy to see the people at the function and greeted them in their different vernaculars, expressing happiness over the new history that has been made since his decision to construct a perimeter wall and put around the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) soldiers to guard the area and ensure no tanzanite was stolen.
Earlier on, Mr Biteko said that after President Magufuli learned of the mining of the two largest crystals ever, he advised that the Government should procure the same.
He was of the view that if it did not, foreigners would buy and Tanzanians end up sightseeing them in museums such as in Hong Kong and China.
Mr Biteko said they might be put in museums in Tanzania for a while before the Government decides the next move.
The buying and signing ceremony were attended by Mr Laizer as a seller while the government was represented by Minister Biteko, Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, Governor Luoga and leaders and officials from the ministries, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions.
Mr Biteko said that small miners must be valued, supported and respected as they are the reason behind Tanzania scooping the first place as sellers of tanzanite now, in spite of big miners boycotting mining activities.
Tanzania was the fourth in selling tanzanite but now has retained the number one position after construction of the perimeter wall, deploying soldiers as well as establishing minerals selling centre in Manyara.
Answering a call by former Simanjiro MP, Mr James ole Millya and DC Chaula, Minister Biteko said the government would consider offering Plot C to small miners if they prove that they can work efficiently. The plot is said to have a lot of such minerals, according to the DC.
The minister said that Dr Magufuli's dreams are being realised to have the mining sector as one of the major economic drivers, and are being revealed openly, enabling poor people to make money. He thanked the TPDC who are guarding the area, to ensure that minerals are not stolen.
He also thanked DC Chaula, the Chairperson of the Mirerani Controlled Area and all stakeholders who are out to ensure that tanzanite is not stolen. He said that this is a history starting to be written in making billionaires.
He said Tanzanians can mine the tanzanite alone, but foreigners were also welcomed to bring in capital and technology.
"Basically, it is we Tanzanians who can change our country for better, and the poor should become rich. We should not be perceived as poor or of lower standards because of our colour, capital and technology. Mr Laizer has unearthed the crystals from more than 1,800 metres underground," said Mr Biteko.
He noted that there were many challenges but they would be solved with the passage of time. He said that they called Mr Laizer and informed him that the Government wants to buy the tanzanite crystals, he agreed right away and said all necessary taxes should be deducted.
Dr Kijaji, on her part, said President Magufuli wants to see Tanzania being driven forward by Tanzanians and that 8bn/- to buy the two pieces was peanuts for the Fifth Phase Government and was happy to see that the president was walking his talk by making billionaires from among the poor.