Tanzanian miner discovers biggest Tanzanite becomes overnight millionaire
Tanzanian miner discovers biggest Tanzanite becomes overnight millionaire. Saniniu Laizer earned $3.4m from the country’s mining ministry for the gemstones.
Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments. It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years.The precious stone’s appeal lies in its variety of hues, including green, red, purple and blue.Its value is determined by rarity – the finer the colour or clarity, the higher the price.
The Tanzanian government handed Saniniu Laizer a cheque for 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings ($3.35million) for the two dark violet-blue stones weighing 9.2kg and 5.8kg during a trading event in the northern region of Manyara on Wednesday, June 24.
President John Magufuli phoned in to congratulate Mr Laizer on the find.
“This is the benefit of small-scale miners and this proves that Tanzania is rich,” the president said.
Mr Laizer, 52, who has four wives, and 30 children said he would slaughter one of his cows to celebrate. He also vowed to use some of the money to invest in his community
“I want to build a shopping mall and a school. I want to build this school near my home. There are many poor people around here who can’t afford to take their children to school.”
“I am not educated but I like things run in a professional way. So I would like my children to run the business professionally.”
He said the windfall would not change his lifestyle, and that he planned to continue looking after his 2,000 cows. He said he did not need to take any extra precautions despite his new-found riches.
Some small-scale miners like Mr Laizer acquire government licences to prospect for Tanzanite, but illegal mining is prevalent especially near mines owned by big companies.
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