Tanzanite: Tanzanian miner becomes overnight millionaire
Mr. Laizer - holding up the gems - is planning to build a school and shopping mall in his community
A small miner in Tanzania became a millionaire overnight after selling two rough Tanzanite stones - the largest ever found in the country.
Saniniu Laizer earned £ 2.4m ($ 3.4m) from the country's Ministry of Mines for the gems, which together weighed 15kg.
"There will be a big party tomorrow," Laizer, father of more than 30 children, told the BBC.
Tanzanite occurs only in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments.
It is one of the rarest gems on earth, and a local geologist estimates that his offering may be completely exhausted within the next 20 years.
The charm of the gemstone lies in its variety of colors, including green, red, purple and blue.
Its value is determined by its rarity - the finer the color or clarity, the higher the price.
Mr. Laizer mined the 9.2 kg and 5.8 kg stones last week, but he sold them on Wednesday during a trading event in the northern region of Manyara.
So far, the largest tanzanite rock to be mined weighed 3.3 kg.
President John Magufuli called to congratulate Mr. Laizer on the finding.
"This is the advantage of small miners and it shows that Tanzania is rich," said the president.
Mr. Magufuli came to power in 2015 and promised to preserve the nation's interest in the mining sector and increase government revenue from it.
What did the new millionaire say?
Mr. Laizer, 52, who has four women, said he would slaughter one of his cows to celebrate.
He also plans to invest in his community in the Simanjiro district in Manyara.
"I want to build a mall and a school. I want to build this school near my house. There are a lot of poor people here who can't afford to take their kids to school."
"I'm not educated, but I like things to be professional, so I want my kids to run the business professionally."
Saniniu Laizer wears the gems in the commercial center
He said the gust of wind would not change his lifestyle and he planned to continue taking care of his 2,000 cows. He said that despite his newly found wealth, he didn't need to take any extra precautions.
"There is enough security [here]. There will be no problem. I can walk around without problems even at night."
Some small miners like Mr. Laizer acquire government licenses to search for Tanzanite, but illegal mining is common, especially near mines owned by large companies.
In 2017, President Magufuli ordered the military to erect a 24-km perimeter wall around the Merelani mining site in Manyara, which is believed to be the only source of tanzanite in the world.
A year later, the government reported an increase in mining revenue and attributed the increase to the construction of the wall, reports Sammy Awami from the Dar es Salaam BBC.
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