Overnight Billionaire: Tanzanian Miner Sells Rare Gemstones for $3.4 Million
A small-scale miner in Tanzania has become an overnight billionaire after mining two of the biggest rough tanzanite gemstones ever found.
Tanzanite is found only in the East African country. Tanzania’s government however, bought the book-sized stones weighing 20 pounds (9 kg) and 11 pounds (5 kg) from the miner ‘Saniniu Laizer’ for $3.4 million.
Nile Dam: Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan agree to AU-led talks Minerals Minister Doto Biteko said on state television the government is buying the rare minerals for preservation.
“We’re signing agreements today in public to facilitate the cash transfer … and the government recognizes Laizer is a new billionaire,” he said.
The two dark violet-blue gemstones, each about 30cm long and 10cm thick, were discovered by miners employed by Saniniu Laizer in a mine in the north of the country.
Speaking in terms of the local currency, Laizer has earned more than 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings. Laizer said in a televised interview he plans to open a shopping mall and a school for his community.
“The money that I have received today, I will allocate it to more development activities,” he said. Tanzania is a rich country, President John Magufuli said when congratulating him.
However, Local and international reporting of the discovery has described the miner’s story as a “grass to grace” story saying he “hit the jackpot”.
Laizer runs a substantial mining operation involving more than 200 people, which he has funded with the profits of his extensive cattle and farming businesses, and was not present when the record-breaking discovery was made.
According to one of his managers, Laizer has logistics experts, engineers, geologists who help him in the planning of the operations. He doesn’t himself go to the pit to dig. He has a number of tried labourers who do the mining.
“It’s a really challenging experience. It’s tough of course, working in this dusty area. We inhale a lot of dust and get sick, but we haven’t lost the determination to work. We feel grateful that our boss has finally got these stones. We are planning to have roast meat together when we return to the mining site.” said the manager.
The first gemstone weighed 9.27kg and the second 5.103kg, a mines ministry spokesperson said. Both were found last week, but the discovery only became known when Laizer sold them to the government on Wednesday.
Being generous, He said that 10% of the earnings from the sale of the stones will be distributed among the workers.