Lightning has struck twice for the 52-year-old, Maasai elder and small scale miner, Mr. Saniniu Laizer. A new 6.33Kg tanzanite crystal has today been unveiled at a ceremony held by the government in Mererani, Simanjiro District, Manyara region, Tanzania. Among those who attended are the Mining Minister, Minister of Finance, and other government officials.
The crystal has been purchased by the government at a price of Tshs 4.84 billion ($2M). The mining minister, Doto Biteko said he received various phone calls from traders from Thailand with the intention to make offers for the crystal but through a presidential directive, the government purchased it.
The 6.33Kg crystal was discovered on the 29th of June, 2020 as the miners were clearing the overburden of the previous deposit and preparing to drill the mine for blasting.
We will create a conducive environment for tourists to come to visit. The wall must be busy to connect the gemstone sector with other economies.Minister of Mines, Doto Biteko.
Mr. Saniniu Laizer, acquired the mine in the year 2010 after selling hundreds of heads of cattle and farm produce. In a local interview, he described his humble beginning in gem mining as very challenging, though at times it was rewarding. He described 2017 and 2018 as his worst years in the gem mining business as he had invested huge without any success. Mr. Saniniu is responsible for providing mining equipment and covering other mining expenses.
By 2019, with over 215 mine workers he had sunk his mine shaft to almost 1.8Km. The workers earn 10% of the mine run production. He employed his last-born brother, Mr. Kiria Laizer, to manage the mine and his employees.
In July 2019, Mr. Saniniu who accepts that he is not well educated opted to consult mining engineers and geologists. At that time his mine was at a depth of almost 1.8km. The professionals advised him to work on a new potential area of about 1km deep. It was from this region that his workers led by one of his elder son who secures the mine run in production bags unearthed the record-breaking 9.4Kg and 5.8Kg tanzanite crystals two months ago.
The government has now acquired and stored the three mega crystals uncovered by Saniniu Laizer waiting to be displayed in the country’s museum at a future date. The government is looking to attract tourists all over the world and earn revenue for the country.
Mining Minister Dotto Biteko issued a stern warning to individuals and companies involved in the smuggling of gemstones. The minister said traders who will be found engaging in the vice will have their minerals confiscated, prosecuted, and blacklisted.
In April this year, the government of Tanzania announces a historical jump in mineral revenue collection of Tshs 58bn. They attributed it to the establishment of a mineral exchange center in each region, improved mining policy, use of technology, and improvement of infrastructure.
Before the construction of the wall in Mererani, revenue generated was a meager Tshs 200 million. In 2018, after the construction of the wall, revenue collected sky rocketed to Tshs 1.4 Billion. Last year they observed a significant jump to Tshs 2 billion.