This Tanzanian miner has become a millionaire overnight

A small-scale miner in Tanzania, Saniniu Laizer, has sold two huge Tanzanite stones, weighing 15kg to become a millionaire overnight.

Saniniu Laizer holding the Tanzanite stones [Tanzania Ministry of Minerals]

According to the BBC, the mining ministry said the two gemstones which weigh 9.2kg and 5.8kg are the largest Tanzanite rocks ever mined.

Some sources indicate that the largest rough Tanzanite stone on record weighed 3.38kg, and was mined by TanzaniteOne in 2005.

Even though it is not known when the 52-year-old mined the stone, Mr Laizer sold the unearthed gems to the government on Wednesday (June 24, 2020) through the mining ministry, for a total of 7.8bn Tanzanian shillings ($3.4m).

At a ceremony held in Manyara in Northern Tanzania, President John Magufuli phoned in to congratulate Mr Laizer.

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

When he became president, Mr Magufuli promised to protect the country’s interests in the mining sector and increase government revenue from the sector.

In 2017, he ordered the military to build a 24km perimeter wall around the site believed to be the world’s only source of Tanzanite - a 4km section at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.

A year on, the Tanzanian mining sector recorded an increase in revenue. This was attributed to the construction of the wall explaining that it curbed smuggling.

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