A small-scale miner in Tanzania became a millionaire after finding and selling the two largest tanzanite stones ever unearthed in the country.
The government gave Saniniu Laizer a giant check worth 7.74 billion Tanzanian shillings ($3.35 million) for the two dark violet-blue gemstones, which weigh 9.27 kilograms (20.43 pounds) and 5.108 kilograms (11.26 pounds), according to the Ministry of Minerals.
President John Magufuli called to congratulate Laizer live on television.
Laizer, 52, told the BBC that he plans to invest in the community and slaughter one of his cows to celebrate.
"There will be a big party tomorrow," Laizer told the outlet. "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 added that he plans to continue looking after his 2,000 cows.
Tanzanite can be found only in a small northern region of the East African country. The gems were discovered in a mine surrounded by a wall built by the government to prevent illegal mining.
The government set up trading centers around the country to all small-scale miners, who typically mine by hand, to sell their gems and gold to the government, Reuters reported.
“This is a confirmation that Tanzania is rich,” Magufuli told minerals minister Doto Biteko, per Reuters.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Small-scale Tanzanian miner finds gemstones worth more than $3 million