ASM unearths Tanzanite of 9.2kg and 5.8kg
Artisanal Small Miner (ASM) in the African nation of Tanzania has become an overnight millionaire after digging up two massive chunks of one of the world's rarest gemstones. Saniniu Laizer earned 7.7 billion Tanzanian shillings (A$4.35 million) by selling the two Tanzanite stones, which weighed 9.2kg and 5.8kg.
Until Mr Laizer found these stones, the largest Tanzanite gem ever found was 3.3kg.
Tanzania is a rich country, President John Magufuli said when congratulating the ASM because the Tanzanite is found only in the East African country. Mining activities accounted for 17% of the East African country’s GDP in 2019. Magufuli's administration has imposed reforms that seek to curb smuggling and increase revenue collection in the sector.
Minerals Minister Doto Biteko said the government is buying the rare minerals for preservation. “We’re signing agreements in public to facilitate the cash transfer ... and the government recognizes Laizer is a new billionaire,” he said, speaking in terms of the local currency.
The 52-year-old husband to four wives and father to more than 30 children, Laizer said he would celebrate. He plans on using his newfound wealth to build a school and a shopping mall. Tanzanite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, and is only found in a 14 square kilometre strip of land in Tanzania.