Tanzanian Miner Becomes Overnight Millionaire After Finding Rare Gemstones


A 52-year-old miner in Tanzania became an overnight millionaire after he sold two large uncut tanzanite gems that weight a combined 33 pounds, the BBC reported this week.

The Tanzanian government handed Saniniu Laizer a check for 7.7 billion Tanzanian shillings - or around $3.35 million for the two gems, which are among the rarest gemstones in the world and popular for its variety of hues, including green, red, purple and blue. Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and geologists say mining will deplete the world's supply over the next 20 years.

Laizer says he mined the stones last week, but was able to sell them this week at a trading event in the northern region of Manyara. He told reporters that he plans to use his windfall to invest in his community in Simanjiro district in Manyara.

"I want to build a shopping mall and a school. 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," Laizer 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."

Laizer doesn't expect the money to change his lifestyle. He says he plans to continue looking after his herd of 2,000 cows and does not plan on taking any precautions, despite his new-found riches.

"There is enough security [here]. There won't be any problem. I can even walk around at night without any problem."

Photo: Getty Images

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