Miner Who Became Millionaire After Finding Rare Gem Finds Another Stone Worth Millions In Tanzania
A Tanzanian miner has sold a rare gem for approximately £1.5 million just two months after he sold two others valued at £2.6 million.
Saniniu Laizer, a small-scale miner, became an overnight millionaire in June when he sold two Tanzanite stones valued at £2.6 million. He discovered the third stone earlier this month, with the gem weighing 6.3kg.
Mr Laizer said on Monday, August 3, the money made from the sales will be used to build a school and a health facility in his community in the Simanjiro district, in northern Manyara region.
Tanzanite, one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, is only found in northern Tanzania. One local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years.
The stone, which is used to make ornaments, has a variety of hues including green, red, purple and blue. Its value is determined by its rarity; the finer the colour or clarity, the higher the price.
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. And Artisanal miners often complain about late payments of their royalties by mine owners.
However, Mr Laizer urged his fellow colleagues to work with the government, saying his experience shows some good can come of it. ‘Selling to the government means there are no shortcuts… they are transparent,’ he said at ceremony in the northern Mirerani mine on Monday, BBC News reports.
Immediately after the sale of the two rocks in June, which weighed 5.8kg and 9.2kg, Mr Laizer – a father of more than 30 children – told reporters the money would not change his lifestyle, but that he would hold a party.
The miner said he would continue to look after his approximately 2,000 cows, adding he did not need to take any extra precautions despite his new-found millionaire status. And now he’s planning to put the majority of the money back into his local community, donating it to help build a school and a health facility.
The Merelani mining site in Manyara, where Mr Laizer found all three of the rare gems, is believed to be the world’s only source of Tanzanite.
So much so that in 2017, president Magufuli ordered the military to build a 24km (14-mile) perimeter wall around the site. Just one year later, the government reported an increase in revenue in the mining sector and attributed the rise to the construction of the wall.
What an incredible find.
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