New Delhi: A miner from Tanzania became an overnight millionaire when he was handed over a cheque of $3.35 million by the Tanzanian government for finding two of the largest tanzanite gemstones.
The dark violet-blue gemstones were found by Saniniu Laizer in one of the tanzanite mines in the northern part of the country.
The first gemstone found by Saniniu weighed 9.27 kg while the second one weighed 5.103 kg, said a spokesperson of the mines ministry of Tanzania. Tanzanite is a gemstone that is only found in the small northern region of the East African nation.
“Today’s event… is to recognise the two largest tanzanite gemstones in history since the beginning of mining activities in Mirerani,” Simon Msanjila, mines ministry permanent secretary, said during a ceremony in the Simanjiro district in Tanzania’s northern Manyara region.
Laizer was given a large cheque after the Bank of Tanzania bought the gemstones from him. President John Magufuli also called him to congratulate Laizer live on Tanzanian national television.
“This is a confirmation that Tanzania is rich,” Magufuli told minerals minister Doto Biteko during the national broadcast.
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