PRESIDENT John Magufuli’s efforts to create more billionaires in Tanzania continue to gain pace; as yet another artisanal miner has hit a ‘jackpot’ of 1.7bn/- in Arusha.
Mr Gabriel Sendeu Laizer is the latest billionaire in the sector, after unearthing five tonnes of the gemstones worth more than 1.7bn/- from his Longido mine in Arusha Region.
He joins another small-scale miner Saniniu Laizer, who in June this year, sold to the government the biggest pieces of Tanzanite ever to be found in the world, weighing more than 11 kilogrammes. The tonnes of ruby were mined in a one-week stint.
This comes as a realisation of the dreams by Dr Magufuli to have billionaires amongst Tanzanians, pledging to support the common people, including artisanal miners. He initiated the move by fencing off the Mirerani mines and creating mining selling centres in regions producing minerals such as gold.
Speaking to government executives and mining professionals, Mr Laizer said the success is a result of concerted efforts put by the government in the sector by affording them conducive environment in mining and trade and building their capacities in the field.
Mr Laizer paid special tribute to President Magufuli for valuing small-scale miners, something he said had boosted him to the recent success. He called upon his fellow miners to carry on seeking minerals, adding that they should be patient in such a work that demands much effort.
Acting Arusha Regional Mining Officer Mr Aidan Mhando congratulated Mr Laizer and thanked him for conducting his mining activities in transparency, in line with the laws of the land, so that he does not deny the government of its revenue from taxes.
That has in turn resulted in success to himself, his workers as well as the government. He directed him to sell the minerals at the trade centre.
Mr Mhando called upon other miners with mining licences who have not initiated their activities in the area to start doing that in order to increase productivity.
He warned those who secured licences but do not engage in mining, saying the government would withdraw the licences and offer the plots to other aspirants. Leaders of mining associations in Arusha region, including Mr Alfred Anthony, who is regional chairman and Jeremiah Simon, who is the leader of middle-level miners said most of the miners are happy with environment that has been created by the fifth phase government in relation to mining and selling operations and now have passion for the work.
Loliondo District Commissioner Mr Frank Mwaisumbe called upon small miners to realise power behind joining forces in the work so that they get working tools so that they conduct modern mining and benefit from the resources that are set for the natives.
He appealed to the miners to offer maximum cooperation to the government, including volunteering information regarding those breaking the laws, such as haphazard sales or exports of the minerals.
He said the government wants to see natives benefit from the mineral sector while it getting its rightful revenue. A senior geologist from the Ministry of Minerals Mr Mussa Shanyange said that ruby is among the minerals that fetch huge price in the market.
Some miners said getting such a huge amount of minerals has increased their passion in mining activities in the area. A former Member of Parliament Mr Michael Lekule Laizer urged financial institutions to extend long-term credit to smallscale miners so that they acquire needed equipment.
Ruby – the pink to blood-red coloured gemstones are also available in Tanga and Dodoma. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems, together with amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond.
It is used both as centerpiece gemstone in pendants and rings, as well as a secondary stone to complement other gemstones such as Diamonds