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Process minerals locally, minister urges investors

28th April 2012
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Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja

The government has encouraged investors in the mining sector to start investing in mineral value addition activities, saying the move will increase employment to Tanzanians and improve revenue collection from the industry.

Opening the 1st Arusha International Gem, Jewery and Minerals Fair, Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja  said the government banned export of rough tanzanite gemstones weighing one gram and above in order to build the local capacity to cut an polish tanzanite minerals.

He informed that for many years, large proportions of minerals produced in the country have been exported in a raw form, the situation which wasn’t beneficial to the country and individual Tanzanians.

The minister said that last year, the government introduced a certificate of origin for any export of Tanzanite minerals
to combat smuggling of tanzanite minerals.

“In relation to that, we have introduced a new strategy that will encourage investor to engage into mineral value addition activities.”

“We believe that through this approach we’ll be improving local skills by imparting new technology to Tanzanians, bring new technology to Tanzanians; increasing employment to Tanzanians and increase revenue from the industry,” the minister informed the gathering of nearly 300 exhibitors and mining dealers.

He added: “We’re encouraging investors to invest in value addition activities in Tanzania and will be given specific licenses and recognized as investor because that is what we want to encourage and call investors in the adding value of our gemstones.”

He noted that the government will continue to promote investment in the fabrication and manufacturing sectors to stimulate beneficiation, promote investment in lapidary, stone carving and
jewellery making.

“And this will be possible through collaboration with the private sector, regional and international organization to strategically invest in smelting and refining industries,” he said.

Ngeleja reassured prospective investors and mining dealers to come in and invest in Tanzania, saying the country has
all required environment for the sector to flourish.

“As government, we are encouraging investors in this sector to invest in the mining sector,” he said, calling mining partners to use the existing country’s political stability to invest in booming mining sector.

Ngeleja explained that the country has a wide-range of mineral resources, which need to be extracted to benefit Tanzanians and the investors.

He acknowledged that Tanzania is endowed with various minerals ranging from metallic minerals; gemstones, industrial minerals; building materials and energy minerals.

Tanzania is the gemstone which is only found in Tanzania, giving opportunity for buyers to access some of the country’s minerals at source.

Organized by Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (Tamida), the fair brought on board exhibitors from East Central and Southern Africa, who offers a wide-range of colored gemstones and diamonds from sub-saharan African countries and potential buyers from all-over the world.

The showcasing event is meant to enhance networking opportunities between parties and exchange knowledge; and to provide a market place for minerals from sub-saharan Africa.

Recently, Arusha Technical College (ATC) announced to introduce a mineral processing course to add value to diverse valuable gemstones in the country.

ATC principal Dr Richard Masika said the new course was meant to boost jewellery polishing, cutting and designing in the country taking into account that Tanzania led in producing precious gemstones.

He noted that the college’s move came after the government came up with a policy to ban exportation of raw gemstones.

“Because we want people who will be able to design, the target of this project is to add value to our gemstones.

I am told in India’s city of Jaipur, nearly 250,000 people are employed in the cutting and polishing of raw gemstones. 

One-third of the tanzanite exported to Jaipur comes from Tanzania,” he said, stressing that by adding value would make Tanzania earn more money than it was at the current situation.

“We would like to see that gemstones employ as many people as possible,” he noted.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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