A joint venture between the government of Botswana and Anglo American’s De Beers has discovered a 1,098-carat diamond adjudged the third-largest gem-quality stone ever to be mined.
Debswana Diamond Company’s acting managing director, Lynette Armstrong, presented the stone to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday. It is the third-largest in the world, behind the 3,106 carat Cullinan stone found in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
Armstrong said “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. 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,” Armstrong remarked.
Minerals minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the 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 last year.
The government receives around 80 per cent of the income from Debswana’s sales through dividends, royalties and taxes.
The pandemic’s impact on both production and demand saw production at Debswana fall 29 per cent in 2020 to 16.6 million carats while sales fell 30 per cent to S$2.8 billion.
With the global diamond market recovery, easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellers, Debswana plans to increase output by as much as 38 per cent.
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