A small scale miner in Tanzania has become an overnight millionaire after unearthing $4.9 million worth of Tanzanite stones.

The artisanal miner, Saniniu Laizer scored the big payday from the country’s mining ministry for two massive gemstones that had a combined weight of 15kg (9.2kg and 5.8kg), the biggest ever found.

The father of 30 children and husband to four wives, Mr Laizer said “There will be a big party tonight” after receiving payment for the stones.

He also plans to give back to his community saying “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.”

Tanzanite is one of the rarest gems stones on the planet and is only found in a small area in the north of Tanzania. The mines are all located in an area of about eight square miles in the Merelani Hills, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and the city of Arusha.


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It gained its name from the jewellers, Tiffany & Co. after the country where it is found and was introduced to the market as recently as 1968.

The value of Tanzanite is linked to rarity – the finer the colour, clarity or cutting grade the higher the price, higher-grade stones can fetch between $600 – $700 per carat.

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