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两块石头在手,秒变大富豪!这种稀有矿石的价格越炒越高

两块石头在手,秒变大富豪!这种稀有矿石的价格越炒越高

Jeremy Kahn 2020年07月01日
坦桑石是全球最稀有的矿石之一,全球仅有一小块地区有储量。

坦桑石小规模矿主萨尼纽•柯延•拉伊泽手拿着到目前为止发现的最大两块坦桑石样本。此次发现让拉伊泽成为了一名百万富翁,而且在一定程度上初步证明了该国的矿业改革是可行的。图片来源:PHOTO BY FILBERT RWEYEMAMU/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

上周早些时候,坦桑尼亚的一位小矿主成了新闻人物。他向政府出售了迄今为止发现的两块最大的坦桑石,并因此在一夜之间成为了百万富翁。

政府同意以330万美元的价格购买这两块透着淡蓝紫光芒的宝石,并将其收藏于国家博物馆。这两块宝石的重量分别为20.4磅和11.2磅,不过这一价格远低于市价。对于那些希望用惊艳的蓝色宝石来提升衣着气质的名人来说,坦桑石已经成为了他们的必购珠宝。

发现了这两块坦桑石的矿主萨尼纽•柯延•拉伊泽今年52岁,是30个孩子(你没听错,30个!)的父亲,他称自己计划用这笔资金在东北部城市阿鲁沙修建一座购物广场,并在邻近街区曼雅拉创办一所学校。

然而拉伊泽的百万富翁时光代表的不仅仅是个人的运气,还代表着非洲政府在规范手工采矿方面所取得的罕见胜利。这个行业当前在全球雇佣了4000多万名员工,而且涉及劳工剥削、人权侵犯和环境破坏问题。就坦桑石而言,坦桑尼亚一直在使用市场机制来引导难以满足的供需关系,以打造一个可持续性更好,破坏性有望更小的行业。

坦桑石是全球最稀有的矿石之一,全球仅有一小块地区有储量,也就是坦桑尼亚北部梅乐拉尼山区5平方英里的地区,它是地壳板块在5.85亿年前激烈碰撞的产物,此次碰撞亦催生了乞力马扎罗火山。这块区域首先由黄金勘探公司于1967年发现,钻石公司戴比尔斯第二年便将宝石带进了珠宝使用市场。然而在最近10年,其受欢迎程度飙升,也在梅乐拉尼山区掀起了采矿热。

在百慕大注册的公司TanzaniteOne Ltd.在这里经营着一家大型商业矿场。经官方许可,该公司与坦桑尼亚国有采矿公司合作,共同经营这片区域。该公司曾在伦敦上市,但目前已经私有化。

但数百家小规模未经许可的矿场如雨后春笋般出现在这一地区,也为该地区带来了众多困扰其他手工矿区的类似问题:不安全的工作环境和劳动力剥削。

由于这些小矿主都没有拿到许可,矿主不得不通过非法渠道来销售那些开采出来的未经切割的宝石,因而也催生了涵盖走私网络,高利贷和有组织犯罪的地下经济,同时还助长了政府腐败,因为有人对官员们行贿,希望他们对此视而不见。与此同时,坦桑尼亚本身也损失了来自于许可费和矿石开采权的收入。政府估计,2017年走私出境的坦桑石比例高达40%。

政府间矿业、矿产、金属和可持续发展论坛(IGF)的2017年报告称,这类问题对手工采矿来说十分常见。该论坛在报告中写道:“环境、健康和安全举措非常匮乏。例如,爆破和钻探带来的尘土和超细颗粒物会导致呼吸道疾病。”

小规模金矿开采会使用水银来分离黄金与其他金属,因此在这一方面的问题尤为严重。IGF称,事实上,手工采矿是全球最大的水银污染源,估计每年有1400吨的水银被释放到环境中。报告还指出:“暴露于水银污染环境会带来严重的健康问题,包括不可逆转的大脑损伤。水银还难以控制,即便是非常小的剂量也具有毒性,它可以通过空气或水远距离传播,让土壤和水道带有毒性,并最终进入食物链。在非洲撒哈拉以南地区,这类风险大多由女性承担。”

IGF称,然而,小规模采矿对于众多高价值矿石生产来说异常重要:全球20%的黄金供应、80%的蓝宝石和20%的钻石都是采用这种方式。电子组件的重要金属亦通过小规模矿场开采,包括全球25%的锡和26%的钛供应,这些都是电脑芯片和智能手机所使用的金属。

就坦桑石而言,坦桑尼亚政府一开始实际上是在尝试回避这个问题。因为坦桑石在这个区域分布的过于集中,2017年,坦桑尼亚总统约翰•马古富利决定在整个采矿区域建一道围栏,但围栏对区隔供需来说向来都没有多大的作用,不过确实减少了非法开采的坦桑石数量,却也推高了坦桑石的价格以及走私的利润。

因此,政府在2019年还实行了一项新政策。它决定扩大坦桑石以及黄金和其他矿石的合法市场,并向小规模矿主提供授权,设立了正式的政府矿石交易中心,从而让他们以公允的价格销售其矿品。设立的28家官方交易中心均靠近矿场,这样这些小矿场便可以直接销售其矿品,而无需借助那些时常不择手段的中间商来将其矿品带到更大城市的市场。这一现象一直都是坦桑石交易过程中腐败的一个来源。

得益于市场的设立,政府能够高效地对采矿生产征税。此外,政府调整了矿主的应付税率,按照销售额的7%征收许可费用。此前,矿主们得支付一大堆税费:5%的预扣税、矿产销售18%的增值税和7.3%的检查费,以及最高0.3%的政府服务税。税务与经济政策研究所的高级经济师马修•萨洛蒙对行业刊物《采矿技术》(Mining Technology)说,新税收构架更加扁平,“其设计十分有利于打击走私,更低的税率可以激励小规模矿主通过中心进行交易。”

新诞生的坦桑石百万富翁拉伊泽向我们展示,坦桑尼亚实现非正规采矿经济正规化的举措开始奏效。政府之所以能够购买其巨大的坦桑石样本,是因为他将其带到了政府交易中心。在过去,世人可能根本无法知道还存在这类巨型宝石,因为它们可能会被偷运至海外。

坦桑尼亚的矿产部部长多托•比特克在上周庆祝拉伊泽发现的活动上说:“过去,小矿主会走私坦桑石,但如今这一情况发生了变化,他们会遵循流程,并向政府交纳税费。”

在看到坦桑石和黄金采矿获得初步成功之后,坦桑尼亚希望将这一制度拓展至其他矿石品种,而且该国可能会为其他以采矿为主要经济来源的国家树立一个很好的榜样。(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

上周早些时候,坦桑尼亚的一位小矿主成了新闻人物。他向政府出售了迄今为止发现的两块最大的坦桑石,并因此在一夜之间成为了百万富翁。

政府同意以330万美元的价格购买这两块透着淡蓝紫光芒的宝石,并将其收藏于国家博物馆。这两块宝石的重量分别为20.4磅和11.2磅,不过这一价格远低于市价。对于那些希望用惊艳的蓝色宝石来提升衣着气质的名人来说,坦桑石已经成为了他们的必购珠宝。

发现了这两块坦桑石的矿主萨尼纽•柯延•拉伊泽今年52岁,是30个孩子(你没听错,30个!)的父亲,他称自己计划用这笔资金在东北部城市阿鲁沙修建一座购物广场,并在邻近街区曼雅拉创办一所学校。

然而拉伊泽的百万富翁时光代表的不仅仅是个人的运气,还代表着非洲政府在规范手工采矿方面所取得的罕见胜利。这个行业当前在全球雇佣了4000多万名员工,而且涉及劳工剥削、人权侵犯和环境破坏问题。就坦桑石而言,坦桑尼亚一直在使用市场机制来引导难以满足的供需关系,以打造一个可持续性更好,破坏性有望更小的行业。

坦桑石是全球最稀有的矿石之一,全球仅有一小块地区有储量,也就是坦桑尼亚北部梅乐拉尼山区5平方英里的地区,它是地壳板块在5.85亿年前激烈碰撞的产物,此次碰撞亦催生了乞力马扎罗火山。这块区域首先由黄金勘探公司于1967年发现,钻石公司戴比尔斯第二年便将宝石带进了珠宝使用市场。然而在最近10年,其受欢迎程度飙升,也在梅乐拉尼山区掀起了采矿热。

在百慕大注册的公司TanzaniteOne Ltd.在这里经营着一家大型商业矿场。经官方许可,该公司与坦桑尼亚国有采矿公司合作,共同经营这片区域。该公司曾在伦敦上市,但目前已经私有化。

但数百家小规模未经许可的矿场如雨后春笋般出现在这一地区,也为该地区带来了众多困扰其他手工矿区的类似问题:不安全的工作环境和劳动力剥削。

由于这些小矿主都没有拿到许可,矿主不得不通过非法渠道来销售那些开采出来的未经切割的宝石,因而也催生了涵盖走私网络,高利贷和有组织犯罪的地下经济,同时还助长了政府腐败,因为有人对官员们行贿,希望他们对此视而不见。与此同时,坦桑尼亚本身也损失了来自于许可费和矿石开采权的收入。政府估计,2017年走私出境的坦桑石比例高达40%。

政府间矿业、矿产、金属和可持续发展论坛(IGF)的2017年报告称,这类问题对手工采矿来说十分常见。该论坛在报告中写道:“环境、健康和安全举措非常匮乏。例如,爆破和钻探带来的尘土和超细颗粒物会导致呼吸道疾病。”

小规模金矿开采会使用水银来分离黄金与其他金属,因此在这一方面的问题尤为严重。IGF称,事实上,手工采矿是全球最大的水银污染源,估计每年有1400吨的水银被释放到环境中。报告还指出:“暴露于水银污染环境会带来严重的健康问题,包括不可逆转的大脑损伤。水银还难以控制,即便是非常小的剂量也具有毒性,它可以通过空气或水远距离传播,让土壤和水道带有毒性,并最终进入食物链。在非洲撒哈拉以南地区,这类风险大多由女性承担。”

IGF称,然而,小规模采矿对于众多高价值矿石生产来说异常重要:全球20%的黄金供应、80%的蓝宝石和20%的钻石都是采用这种方式。电子组件的重要金属亦通过小规模矿场开采,包括全球25%的锡和26%的钛供应,这些都是电脑芯片和智能手机所使用的金属。

就坦桑石而言,坦桑尼亚政府一开始实际上是在尝试回避这个问题。因为坦桑石在这个区域分布的过于集中,2017年,坦桑尼亚总统约翰•马古富利决定在整个采矿区域建一道围栏,但围栏对区隔供需来说向来都没有多大的作用,不过确实减少了非法开采的坦桑石数量,却也推高了坦桑石的价格以及走私的利润。

因此,政府在2019年还实行了一项新政策。它决定扩大坦桑石以及黄金和其他矿石的合法市场,并向小规模矿主提供授权,设立了正式的政府矿石交易中心,从而让他们以公允的价格销售其矿品。设立的28家官方交易中心均靠近矿场,这样这些小矿场便可以直接销售其矿品,而无需借助那些时常不择手段的中间商来将其矿品带到更大城市的市场。这一现象一直都是坦桑石交易过程中腐败的一个来源。

得益于市场的设立,政府能够高效地对采矿生产征税。此外,政府调整了矿主的应付税率,按照销售额的7%征收许可费用。此前,矿主们得支付一大堆税费:5%的预扣税、矿产销售18%的增值税和7.3%的检查费,以及最高0.3%的政府服务税。税务与经济政策研究所的高级经济师马修•萨洛蒙对行业刊物《采矿技术》(Mining Technology)说,新税收构架更加扁平,“其设计十分有利于打击走私,更低的税率可以激励小规模矿主通过中心进行交易。”

新诞生的坦桑石百万富翁拉伊泽向我们展示,坦桑尼亚实现非正规采矿经济正规化的举措开始奏效。政府之所以能够购买其巨大的坦桑石样本,是因为他将其带到了政府交易中心。在过去,世人可能根本无法知道还存在这类巨型宝石,因为它们可能会被偷运至海外。

坦桑尼亚的矿产部部长多托•比特克在上周庆祝拉伊泽发现的活动上说:“过去,小矿主会走私坦桑石,但如今这一情况发生了变化,他们会遵循流程,并向政府交纳税费。”

在看到坦桑石和黄金采矿获得初步成功之后,坦桑尼亚希望将这一制度拓展至其他矿石品种,而且该国可能会为其他以采矿为主要经济来源的国家树立一个很好的榜样。(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

Earlier last week, a small-scale miner in Tanzania made headlines around the world when he became a multimillionaire overnight after selling to the government two of the largest tanzanite rocks ever unearthed.

The government agreed to buy the brilliant violet-blue-tinged precious stones, which weighed in at 20.4 and 11.2 pounds respectively, for $3.3 million—which is well below their actual market value—and put them in the country’s museum. Tanzanite has become something of a must-have jewel for celebrities looking to spice up their outfit with a striking blue gem.

Saniniu Kuryan Laizer, the 52-year-old miner and father of 30—yes, 30!—who discovered the tanzanite samples, said he planned to invest the money in a shopping mall in the northeastern city of Arusha and to build a local school in the neighboring district of Manyara.

But Laizer’s millionaire moment represents more than just an amazing stroke of luck for one man. It represents a rare victory for an African government in being able to regulate artisanal mining—a practice that employs more than 40 million people around the globe and is implicated in exploitative labor practices, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation. With tanzanite, Tanzania has managed to use market mechanisms to channel the insatiable forces of demand and supply to create a more sustainable and possibly less damaging industry.

Tanzanite is one of the world’s rarest minerals. It is found in only one tiny patch of the globe, just five square miles in size, in the Mererani Hills of northern Tanzania, the legacy of a violent clash of tectonic plates 585 million years ago that would also spawn the volcano that is today Mount Kilimanjaro. Only first discovered by a gold prospector in 1967, diamond company De Beers brought the gem to market for use in jewelry the following year. But in the past decade its popularity has soared, setting off a mining boom in the Merarani Hills.

One large-scale commercial mine, operated by a Bermuda-registered company called TanzaniteOne Ltd., has an official concession to operate in the area in partnership with the State Mining Company of Tanzania. It was once publicly listed in London but is now in private hands.

But hundreds of small-scale, unlicensed pit mines have sprung up all over the area—bringing with them many of the same problems that have plagued artisanal mining of other minerals elsewhere: unsafe working conditions and exploitative labor practices.

Because none of the miners were licensed, miners had to sell the uncut gemstones they excavated illicitly, giving rise to an underground economy of smuggling networks, loan sharks, and organized crime. It also spurred government corruption as officials were paid to look the other way. Meanwhile, Tanzania itself lost out on revenues it could have derived from royalty fees and mineral rights. The government estimated in 2017 that 40% of tanzanite was being smuggled out of the country.

These sorts of problems are common to artisanal mining, according to a 2017 report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). “Environmental and health and safety practices tend to be very poor. For example, dust and fine particles resulting from blasting and drilling cause respiratory illnesses,” the IGF wrote.

Small-scale gold mining, which uses mercury to separate gold from other metals, is especially problematic. In fact, artisanal mining is the largest global source of mercury pollution—estimated at 1,400 tonnes of mercury released into the environment each year, the IGF says. “Exposure to mercury can have serious health impacts, including irreversible brain damage,” the report continues. “Mercury is also difficult to contain and can be toxic at even very small doses. It can be transported long distances by air or water, poisoning the soil and waterways, and eventually making its way into the food chain. In sub-Saharan Africa, most of these risks are borne by women.”

And yet small-scale mining is key to the production of many valuable minerals: 20% of the world’s gold supply, 80% of sapphires, and 20% of diamonds are mined this way, according to the IGF. Key metals for electronic components are also extracted by small-scale mines: 25% of the world’s tin and 26% of the supply of tantalum, which is used in computer chips and smartphones.

In the case of tanzanite, the Tanzanian government first tried to wall off the problem—literally. Because the area where tanzanite is found is concentrated so densely, in 2017, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli decided to build a fence around the entire mining region. But fences are never very good at separating supply from demand. The fence did reduce the amount of tanzanite being mined illicitly, but it also drove prices higher and made smuggling more lucrative.

So, in 2019, the government also instituted a new policy. It decided to expand the legitimate market for tanzanite—as well as gold and other minerals. It began licensing small-scale miners and set up official government mineral trading centers where they could sell their production at a fair prices. The 28 official trading hubs established so far are all close to mining sites, so that small miners could sell their production directly, without having to rely on sometimes unscrupulous middlemen to take the minerals to markets in bigger cities, which had been a source of corruption in the trade.

The markets also allow the governments to efficiently tax mining production. Plus, the government changed the tax rate miners have to pay, reducing it to a 7% royalty rate on sales. Previously miners paid a litany of taxes and fees: 5% withholding tax, plus 18% value-added tax on mineral sales, plus 7.3% inspection fees, and a 0.3% government service levy on top. The new, flatter tax structure is “well designed to curb smuggling,” Matthew Salomon, the senior economist for the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, told trade publication Mining Technology. “The lower tax rate should provide incentives for small-scale miners to transact through the hub.”

That newly minted tanzanite millionaire, Laizer, shows that Tanzania’s efforts to formalize the informal mining economy is starting to work. He’s one of the small-scale miners recently licensed by the government. The government was able to purchase his huge tanzanite specimens because Laizer brought it to a government trading hub. In the past, it might never have even known the giant gemstones existed—they would likely have been spirited out of the country.

"We are now moving from a situation where the small miners were smuggling tanzanite, and now they are following the procedures and paying government taxes and royalties,” Tanzanian mining minister Dotto Biteko said at an event last week celebrating Laizier’s find.

Having shown initial success with tanzanite and gold, Tanzania is hoping to expand the system to other minerals too, and it could prove to be a model for other mining-dependent economies throughout Africa.

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