A Tanzanian miner made another discovery of one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, possibly earning the small-scale miner millions of dollars — again.
Saniniu Laizer, 52, recently discovered the rare, dark violet-blue tanzanite gem, weighing 14 pounds. Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is valued based on its rarity, color and clarity.
The gem is valued at 4.7 billion Tanzanian shillings, or $2 million, the BBC reported, and is among the dwindling number of Tanzanite left in the world.
Laizer, who has 30 children, told the BBC on Monday that he plans to use the money build a school and a health facility in his Simanjiro district community in the northern Manyara region.
He also said his earnings would not change his lifestyle, and plans to continue caring for his 2,000 cows.
Laizer became a millionaire in June when he found the two largest tanzanite stones ever unearthed in the country. The gemstones were also discovered in Manyara, surrounded by a government perimeter meant to control cross-border smuggling of precious gemstones, The Standard reported.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli congratulated Laizer on live television following his initial findings and the government paid Laizer 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings, or $3.35 million. The pair of violet-blue gemstones weighed 20.43 pounds and 11.26 pounds, according to the Ministry of Minerals.
The government set up trading centers around the country for small-scale miners, who often mine by hand, to sell their gems and gold to the government, Reuters reported.
“Selling to the government means there are no shortcuts… they are transparent,” Laizer said at a ceremony in the northern Mirerani mine, according to the BBC.