Tanzanian miner sells rare gemstones for $ 3.4 million

Saniniu Laizer has the two tanzanite gems that he mined and sold for $ 3.4 million.

Filbert Rweyemamu / AFP via Getty Images

Tanzanian miner Saniniu Laizer has become an overnight millionaire by selling two Tanzanian gemstones, the largest ever found in the country, for 7.7 billion Tanzanian shillings ($ 3.4 million), according to multiple media reports.

The stones weigh 9.2 kg (20.3 pounds) and 5.8 kg, and Laizer mined them last week, but sold them on Wednesday at a trade event in the Manyara region, the BBC reported.

Laizer, the father of more than 30 children, reportedly told the BBC that he planned to use the money to build a shopping center and school in his community in Simanjiro, a district of Manyara.

“I want to build this school near my house,” he told the media. “There are many poor people around here who cannot afford to take their children to school.”

He added: “I have no education, but I like things to work professionally. Therefore, I would like my children to run the business professionally.”

Despite his new wealth, Laizer said he would continue to care for his 2,000-cow herd. The small-scale miner said he would kill one of the cows to celebrate and that there would also be a “big party.”

Tanzanian President John Magufuli reportedly congratulated Laizer by phone and said the finding showed the benefit of small-scale miners and “proves that Tanzania is rich.”

Read the report on the BBC website here.