A huge diamond weighing more than 1,000 carats, which could be the third-largest mined in history, has been discovered in the southern African country of Botswana.
The high-quality gemstone weighing 1,098.3 carats was unearthed earlier this month in the Jwaneng mine owned by Debswana, the mining company jointly owned by the Botswanan government and the De Beers Group.
“With the recent introduction of a modern, state-of-the-art large diamond pilot plant, I have every hope that we will be able to recover more large diamonds,” said Lynette Armstrong, Debswana’s acting managing director.
“This, by all standards, is a great metallurgical achievement, to recover a diamond of this size intact through our conventional ore processing plant,” she said.
The diamond, which measures in at 73mm long, 52mm wide and 27mm thick — is the largest gem-quality diamond found in Debswana’s mines in the company’s more than 50-year history, Ms Armstrong said.
It is believed to come third behind the 3,106-carat Cullinan stone, recovered in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
Diamonds were discovered in Botswana in 1967 and Debswana was formed in 1969.
The most recent large diamond found at Jwaneng mine was a stone weighing 446 carats in 1993.
The big diamond is good news for Botswana’s beleaguered economy, which has experienced a significant downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diamonds account for about two-thirds of Botswana’s export earnings.