WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A small-scale miner earned $3.4 million for tanzanite gemstones with a combined weight of 33 lbs, BBC reported.
- These 20.28 lbs. and 12.78 lbs. gemstones from the recent discovery are the largest tanzanite stones on record.
- Tanzanite are considered rare than diamonds because these gemstones are only found in northern regions of the country.
Saniniu Laizer earned $3.4 million for rough gemstones, which had a combined weight of 15 kg (33 lbs.), he sold to Tanzanian government, BBC reported.
This find, with trade name “tanzanite”, are blue and purple gemstones. Gemological Institute of America consider these gemstones rarer than diamonds because the only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is located in Merelani Hills, Northern Tanzania.
Tanzanite was not discovered in commercial quantities until 1967.
The Tanzanian Mining Ministry bought these gemstones during a trading event in Manyara, held Wednesday. The first gemstone weighed 20.28 lbs., while the second one was at 12.78 lbs. Today, these two are the largest tanzanite stones on record, beating the 7.27 lbs. record from before.
Laizer, who has four wives and more than 30 children, said intends to celebrate these recent discoveries by slaughtering one of his more than 2,000 cows and hold a gathering.
“There will be a big party tomorrow,” he told the BBC.
President John Magufuli talked about these recent finds in a statement. “This is the benefit of small-scale miners and this proves that Tanzania is rich,” he said.
Laizer does not intend to make changes in his lifestyle. Instead, he hopes to use the money from the government to better his community and fund construction projects for a school and a shopping mall.
“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 said. “I am not educated but I like things run in a professional way. So I would like my children to run the business professionally.”
He made no arrangements for added protection for himself and his family. He considers himself safe walking “around at night without any problem.”
Tanzania surrounded these mines where the gemstones were discovered, as counter measures to regulate mining and trading.
Last year, the national government established trading centers to enable small-scale miners — who do not officially work for any mining companies — to mine and sell their findings to the government.