A humble miner earns 5 million after finding the rarest material in the world

A humble miner earns 5 million after finding the rarest material in the world
Saniniu Laizer, with the first two tanzanite rocks he found. (Tanzanian Ministry of Minerals)

In just under two months, a Tanzanian miner has found three huge rocks of great economic value from a mineral that is destined to disappear in twenty years.

Can you imagine winning a million-dollar in the lottery and that, just a few months later, you’ll be given another prize of equal value again? Well, that’s what happened to Saniniu Laizer, a humble miner from Tanzania (Africa) who in a matter of weeks has been able to earn 4.5 million euros after finding three huge sized rocks that are considered one of the strongest minerals on Earth. And he promises to continue looking for more rocks of this material that also grants wealth to his own country.

It all started in the middle of last June when Laizer discovered two tanzanite rocks in the mine where he was working on. They were two large stones, weighing 9.2 and 5.8 kilos and that had great economic value. Thus, the miner decided to go to his government to sell the mineral, receiving as consideration € 2.8 million. Overnight, a humble inhabitant of Tanzania had just become a millionaire thanks to his discovery.

In recent years, there have been many reports that tell us about the importance of certain materials in today’s world. The development of technology often requires a series of minerals that are scarce in the world, such as coltan, scandium, yttrium or the 15 elements of the lanthanide group, that is, of the rare earth. But in this case, tanzanite has nothing to do with technology, since it is a mineral that is only used for decorative purposes. Why is it so valuable then?

Well, very simple: it is considered one of the rarest gems on Earth, which is only found in Tanzania and is estimated to be definitively depleted in just under 20 years. As a curiosity, tanzanite can have various colors, being green, red, purple or blue. But, in addition, its hue is directly related to its value, because the more transparent the rock, the higher the price of this strange mineral. For that reason, it has become a way of life for many local inhabitants.

Tanzania is aware of the value of this mineral and, for this reason, in 2017 President John Magufuli decided to build a 24-kilometre wall to protect the Merelani mine, the main source of Tanzanite worldwide and, for the moment, the only one place where this mineral has been found massively. But why was this wall built? The government believed there was a big problem with illegal mining that was smuggling this material. And for that reason, it encouraged the issuance of private mining licenses.

Thus, many inhabitants like Laizer decided to go to the Magufuli executive to contract a license: if they found a valuable mineral, they knew that the government would buy it and that it would bring them important benefits. In fact, Laizer confesses that he entered the world of mining with this only goal since the only income he had to cover the needs of his 30 children was the economic returns generated by the 2,000 head of cattle. It was time to try luck with mining.

And the truth is that the Laizer has been very lucky. By June, he had already found those two large rocks worth 2.8 million euros. But, despite becoming a millionaire, he assures that he would continue working in the mine with the aim of continuing to find this mineral: it only took a couple of weeks more to find new rock, in this case, 6.3 kilos, for which the government has again paid him 2.8 million euros. Or, to put it another way, in just over two months it has earned 4.5 million euros thanks to three large Tanzanite rocks.

Despite becoming a millionaire almost overnight, Laizer says he will continue to search for more Tanzanian at the Merelani mine. At the moment, he says that with the money obtained from the sale of these minerals, he plans to build a school and a health center in his community, in the Manyara region. A mineral called extinction in the next two decades has made a humble miner a millionaire. Now, the Tanzanian government will resell this exclusive mineral from the world of jewellery with which unique creations will be made for which the great fortunes of the world will be fought.