A Tanzanian miner and father-of-30 who became an overnight millionaire by digging up huge gemstones worth £2.4million has found and sold another piece worth £1.5million.
Saniniu Laizer made the sale at a trading event attended by hundreds this morning after discovering the 6.3kg Tanzanite stone.
It follows the small-scale miner, finding two other chunks of the gemstone last month in one of the tanzanite mines in the north of the country, which are surrounded by a wall to control cross-border smuggling of the valuable mineral.
Saniniu Laizer pictured last month holding up two of the precious gemstones. He has now found a third Tanzania stone weighing 6.5kg and sold it at a trading event this morning
Locals were excited in the build-up to today’s sale and other miners were surprised by Mr Laizer’s fortunate finds but ‘acknowledged perseverance may have something to do with it’, according to the BBC’s Aboubakar Famau.
The 52-year-old, who has four wives and 30 children, previously vowed to use some of his earnings to build a school and a shopping mall in his community, adding that many locals can’t afford to pay for their children’s education.
But Mr Laizer insisted that his lifestyle would not change and that he would continue to look after his herd of 2,000 cows.
The first gemstone weighed 20lb while the second weighed 11lb, a mines ministry spokesperson said.
Two of the Tanzanite gemstones previously sold by Laizer – the largest ever found, according to the Ministry of Mines – are pictured at a ceremony attended by senior government officials
Last month, Laizer was pictured on Tanzanian television being presented with a large cheque, above, after the Bank of Tanzania bought the gemstones in a ceremony
What is Tanzanite?
The ultra-rare gemstone Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania.
It is possibly the rarest mineral in the world, found in an area just 2.5 miles wide and 1.2 miles long at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The stones are priced depending on the rarity of their colour and clarity.
Tanzanite slabs are often exported to India to be polished and transformed into decorative objects.
Local geologists predict its supply could be depleted within 20 years, the BBC reported.
The gemstone was named after its country of origin by Tiffany & Co.
Before Mr Laizer dug out the chunks last week, the largest Tanzanite stone recorded was seven pounds.
Tanzanite is an ultra-rare gemstone found only in a small northern region of the East African nation.
Last month, Mr Laizer was pictured on Tanzanian television being presented with a large cheque after the Bank of Tanzania bought the gemstones in a ceremony. President John Magufuli phoned to congratulate Laizer live on television.
‘This is a confirmation that Tanzania is rich,’ Magufuli earlier told minerals minister Doto Biteko.
Tanzania last year set up trading centres around the country to allow artisanal miners to sell their gems and gold to the government.
Artisanal miners are not officially employed by any mining companies and usually mine by hand.
Magufuli inaugurated the wall around tanzanite mining concessions in northern Tanzania in April 2018, in an attempt to control illegal mining and trading activities.
At the time he said 40 per cent of tanzanite produced there was being lost.