Tanzanian Miner Plans to Build School, Mall In Community After Receiving Millions for Rare Gemstone Discovery

A Tanzanian man became a millionaire overnight after he mined two record-breaking rare gemstones.

Saniniu Laizer discovered two tanzanite stones in late June and sold them during a trading event, reported BBC. The stones weighed in at a combined 33 pounds, which makes Laizer’s find the largest ever recorded in the East African nation. Before Laizer’s discovery, the largest tanzanite stone ever found was 7.3 pounds. He was paid 7.7 billion Tanzanian shillings ($3.4 million) for the stones.

Tanzanian small-scale miner Saniniu Kuryan Laizer (above) became an instant millionaire after he recovered two rare Tanzanite gemstones in June. (Photo: Filbert Rweyemamu/AFP via Getty Images)

Tanzanite is extremely rare and is only found in northern Tanzania. The first tanzanite recovery happened in 1967 after a Masai tribesman accidently found it in Merelani, Tanzania, according to the Gemological Institute of America.

It is often used to make ornaments and comes in several colors, including red, blue, green and purple. Expert predict the stone’s supply could be decimated within the next 20 years.

Laizer, who reportedly has four wives and more than 30 children, plans to celebrate his fortune with a big party, where he will slaughter one of his 2,000 cows. He also wants to use the money to bring wealth to his community.

Saniniu Kuryan Laizer (above) poses with a check he received for two Tanzanite gemstones he mined in Northern Tanzania. (Photo: Filbert Rweyemamu/AFP via Getty Images)

“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,” he told BBC. “I am not educated, but I like things run in a professional way. So I would like my children to run the business professionally.”

John Magufuli, president of Tanzania, personally phoned Laizer to extend his congratulations.

“This is the benefit of small-scale miners, and this proves that Tanzania is rich,” he said.

Laizer doesn’t want his money to change his lifestyle too much and is not concerned about his safety.

“There is enough security [here]. There won’t be any problem,” he said. “I can even walk around at night without any problem.”

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