Miner is a millionaire after discovering the world’s largest Tanzanite gems

A humble Tanzanian miner discovered the world’s largest Tanzanite deposit, worth more than $ 3 million.

The two midnight blue gemstones were unearthed in the northern region of the East African country, the only part of the world where Tanzanite can be found, reports Sky News. There, the gem miners operate independently and are known to work with their hands instead of large-scale excavation equipment.

The gemstones weigh 20.43 pounds (9.27 kilograms) and 11.25 pounds (5.10 kilograms), according to a spokesman for the Tanzanian government. On Thursday, the Bank of Tanzania sent the miner, Saniniu Laizer, 52, a check for 7.74 trillion Tanzanian shillings ($ 3.34 million).

“Today’s event … is to recognize the two largest Tanzanite gemstones in history since the commencement of mining activities in Merelani,” said Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Simon Msanjila, at a televised event at the Northern Manyara region in Tanzania.

Saniniu Kuran Laizer holding his check
AFP via Getty Images

Laizer was shown ceremoniously handing out the Tanzanites, each nearly as long as his forearm, and receiving a giant check in return.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli telephoned Laizer during the broadcast to congratulate the subsistence miner.

“This is confirmation that Tanzania is rich,” Magufuli told minerals minister Doto Biteko, according to Sky News.

In 2018, Magufuli had an enclosure built in the northern region, where he claimed that 40% of the country’s Tanzanian was illegally traded, to protect miners from smugglers across the country.