A small scale Tanzanian miner became a millionaire overnight after he mined two rare Tanzanite gemstones.
Saniniu Laizer’s rough gemstones, the biggest ever find in Tanzania earned him 7.7 billion Tanzanian shillings (£2.4m) from the country’s mining ministry.
The stones weighed in at a combined 33 Ib, until Laizer’s find the largest ever recorded gemstone mined in the East Africa country was 7.3 pounds.
President John Magufuli phoned in to congratulate Saniniu Laizer, 52, on the find saying: “This is the benefit of small-scale miners and this proves that Tanzania is rich.”
Laizer has four wives and 30 children.
Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments.
It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years.
The precious stone’s appeal lies in its variety of hues, including green, red, purple and blue.
Its value is determined by rarity – the finer the colour or clarity, the higher the price.