A diamond unearthed in Botswana, believed to be the third-largest in the world, has been put on display in the country.
The stone weighs about 1,098 carats.
The stone was unearthed about two weeks ago by the diamond firm Debswana Diamond Company and was shown to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday.
It is not known yet how much the diamond is worth but the second-largest diamond, the Lesedi La Rona, which weighed 1,109 carats, sold for £40m four years ago.
Lynette Armstrong, Debswana’s acting managing director told the media: “This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation. From our preliminary analysis, it could be the world’s third-largest gem-quality stone.”
It is yet to be named.
The world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan stone, weighs 3,106 carats and was recovered in South Africa in 1905.
As per its website, Debswana, established in 1969 “is owned in equal shares by the Government of the Republic of Botswana and The De Beers Group of Companies”.
It claims to be “one of the world’s leading diamond producers by value and volume”.
Meanwhile, Ms Armstrong said that the company was yet to make a decision on whether to sell the diamond through the De Beers channel or through the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.
The BBC quoted the country’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, as saying that the discovery of the stone could not have come at a better time after the Covid-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.
Botswana is Africa’s largest producer of diamonds. The stone was discovered at the Jwaneng — the world’s richest mine by value, which is undergoing a $2 billion expansion, local reports said.
Rachel Mothibatsela, Debswana spokesperson told the media: “Debswana will work with the government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers to value and sell the diamond to ensure it returns maximum benefit for the people of Botswana.”
In the past two decades, seven African countries have endured brutal civil conflicts fuelled by diamonds: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a 2018 report, Human Rights Watch claimed that human rights abuses in the diamond supply chain continue.
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