Laizer earned $3.4 million after selling the gemstones with a combined weight of 33lb to the country’s ministry of mining. The discovery is said to be the largest ever in Tanzania’s history.
“There will be a big party tomorrow,” the small-scale miner from Simanjiro district in Manyara, told the BBC.
“I want to build a shopping mall and a school. I want to build this school near my home. There are many poor people around here who can’t afford to take their children to school,” he said. “I am not educated but I like things run in a professional way. So I would like my children to run the business professionally.”
According to The Guardian, Laizer’s discovery of the two dark violet-blue gemstones was made in one of the tanzanite mines in the north of the country. The mines are said to be surrounded by a wall to control cross-border smuggling of the gemstones.
“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 at a ceremony in Simanjiro district in Tanzania’s northern Manyara region.
Laizer mined the stones, whose values are determined by rarity last week, but sold them on Wednesday during a trading event in the northern region of Manyara, the BBC reports.
“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, was quoted as saying at the ceremony.
“This is the benefit of small-scale miners and this proves that Tanzania is rich,” said President John Magufuli in a phone call to congratulate Laizer on the find.
The 52-year-old Laizer, who has four wives and more than 30 children said he has no plans to change his way of living, saying: “There is enough security [here]. There won’t be any problem. I can even walk around at night without any problem.”
Meanwhile, Tanzanian geologists have estimated that the supply of the stones will be completely depleted within the next 20 years.