One man's instant riches revealed far and wideWorld | 26 Jun 2020
A Tanzanian subsistence miner hit a jackpot when the government handed him a check for 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings (HK$25.9 million) for the two largest tanzanite gemstones ever found.
The dark violet-blue gemstones were discovered by Saniniu Laizer in a mine in the northern region of the East African nation - the only place tanzanite is found.
One gemstone weighed 9.27 kilograms and the other 5.10 kg.
Besides making Laizer a wealthy man the presentation ceremony at Simanjiro marked the first big success for this form of mining since it started at Mirerani.
Any hope Laizer had of keeping his new-found wealth a secret was undone when he was shown on Tanzanian television being presented with the check by Simon Msanjila, a senior official in the industry. The Bank of Tanzania had bought the gemstones.
And President John Magufuli phoned to congratulate Laizer live on television. "This is a confirmation that Tanzania is rich," Magufuli remarked to minerals minister Doto Biteko alongside him.
Tanzania last year set up trading centers around the country to allow miners to sell their gems and gold to the government.
The miners are not employed officially by any mining company and usually work by hand.
Magufuli also inaugurated an extensive security wall around tanzanite concessions to control illegal mining and trading. He said that about 40 percent of tanzanite mined there was being lost.