A small-scale mining boss in Tanzania hit the jackpot after employees found two of the largest tanzanite gemstones ever recorded.

Saniniu Laizer made a whopping 7.74bn Tanzanian shillings ($3 million) after the two gems, with a combined weight of 15kg, were sold to the Tanzania’s Ministry of Minerals during a trading event on Wednesday.

When asked what he would do with his new-found wealth, Laizer told media that he planned to invest in his community by building a shopping mall and a school.

“There are many poor people around here who can’t afford to take their children to school,” he said.

As for how Lazier’s lifestyle will change, the mining boss plans to maintain his regular way of life, raising thousands of cows.

But he did say, “There will be a big party tomorrow.”

One of Earth’s Rarest Gems

The blue and violet tanzanite gem is one of the world’s rarest gems and can only be found in the country’s northern region in a small area near Mount Kilimanjaro. First discovered in 1967, it was named by Tiffany & Co, after its native country. Its rarity also derives from the way it was formed, around 585 million years ago, in such a unique way that it’s unlikely that the gem is found anywhere else in the world. Geologists believe that by 2050 its reserves will be depleted and in 2017, the government built a parameter around the mining site to protect the gemstone.

The last tanzanite gem found was 15 years ago by a commercial mining company and only weighed 3.38kg.

Artisanal miners are not officially employed by mining companies and usually mine by hand, however, last year the country set up trading centres to allow them to sell gems and gold to the government.

Photo Credit: The Times

Aisha Mohamed