Saniniu Laizer a small-time miner and father of over 30 children became a millionaire overnight after mining two of the largest Tanzanite gemstones mined yet.
The state purchased the two rare gemstones each weighing 9.27Kg and 5.103Kg from him for $3.4 million.
Tanzanite is found only in a small region in northern Tanzania and is known for its unique colour blend.
According to the American Gem Trade Association, ‘In its untreated form, Tanzanite is a trichroic gem, meaning it shows three colours when viewed at different angles, One direction is blue, another purple and the other brown’.
Daylight brings out its true blue hues, while incandescent light emphasises its indigo tones. More the deeper a Tanzanite is its value increases.
Gemmologist fear, given its high value, huge demand and limited supply Tanzanite may be completely depleted in the next two decades.
Laizer who has a large family with four wives and more than 30 children has said he plans to invest the money for developing his community in Simanjiro district at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I want to build a shopping complex and a school near my home. There many poor people who can’t afford to send their children to school.
He said becoming a millionaire will not change his lifestyle and would continue to herd his 2000 odd cows.
Small-time miners like Saniniu Laizer obtain a licence from the government and sell their find back to it.