One of the largest diamonds ever found has been discovered in a mine in the landlocked African state of Botswana.
The stone, the size of a chicken’s egg, is 1098 carats and of the purest quality, mine operator Debswana said.
The gem was found at the Jwaneng mine earlier this month.
The mine is owned by the Debswana consortium, in which diamond producer De Beers and the state of Botswana each hold 50 per cent of the shares.
BOTSWANA'S 1,098 CARAT DIAMOND 💎
LOOK: A 1,098 carat diamond, believed to be the third largest gem-quality stone ever to be mined, has been discovered in Botswana.
The stone was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on June 16. 📷 Debswana Diamond Company via Reuters pic.twitter.com/fTfVHn7exV
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) June 17, 2021
It owns a total of four large diamond mines, of which the 400-metre-deep mine in Jwaneng is considered the largest.
The stone was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday by Debswana Diamond Company’s acting managing director Lynette Armstrong.
It is the third largest in the world, behind the 3106 carat Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905 and the 1109 carat Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” Ms 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.”
Minerals minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the yet-to-be named stone, which measures 73mm long, 52mm wide and 27mm thick, could not have come at a better time after the COVID-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.
The government receives as much as 80 per cent of the income from Debswana’s sales through dividends, royalties and taxes.