Diamond believed to be world's third-largest unearthed in Botswana
The 1,098-carat diamond was shown to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday, two weeks after the diamond firm Debswana discovered it.
A diamond believed to be the third-largest ever to be mined has been unearthed in Botswana, as per a joint venture between Anglo American's De Beers and the government. The 1098-carat diamond was shown to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday, two weeks after the diamond firm Debswana discovered it.
The large gem-quality stone, which measures 73mm long, 52mm wide and 27mm thick, is slightly less heavy than the world's second-largest diamond ‘Lesedi La Rona’ which was also found in Botswana in 2015. The largest diamond unearthed to date, 3106 carat Cullinan stone, was recovered in South Africa in 1905.
"This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation," Debswana’s acting managing director Lynette Armstrong said.
"From our preliminary analysis, it could be the world's third-largest gem-quality stone. We are yet to make a decision on whether to sell it through the De Beers channel or through the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company," she added.
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Minerals minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the yet-to-be-named diamond could not have come at a better time after the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020. While an estimate of the diamond's potential cost has not yet been released, the cost of Lesedi La Rona, which was sold for $53 million in 2017 to a London jeweller, can be used to gauge the potential cost.
Botswana government receives as much as 80 per cent of the income from Debswana's sales through dividends, royalties and taxes. The economic devastation caused by the pandemic impacted both diamond production and demand in 2020. Production at Debswana fell 29% to 16.6 million carats, while sales fell 30%to $2.1 billion.
In 2021, Debswana plans to increase output by as much as 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23 million carats as the global diamond market recovers with the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellers.
(With Reuters inputs)