Diamond firm Debswana announced the discovery in Botswana of a 1,098-carat stone which it described as the third largest stone of its kind in the world.
The company’s acting chief executive, Lynette Armstrong, presented the stone, which was found on June 1, to the country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, on Wednesday.
It is the third largest in the world, behind the 3,106-carat Cullinan found in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona discovered in Botswana in 2015.
“This is the largest diamond recovered by Debswana in its more than 50-year history of mining,” Armstrong said.
“Based on our preliminary analysis, this may be the third largest gemstone in the world. We have not yet decided to sell it through the De Beers channel or through the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company. “
The “rare and extraordinary stone… means so much in the context of diamonds and Botswana,” she said. “It brings hope to a struggling nation. “
Minerals Minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the stone, which has yet to be named but measures 73 by 52 by 27 mm, could not have come at a better time after the Covid pandemic -19 hit diamond sales in 2020.
Debswana is a joint venture between De Beers of Anglo American and the Botswana government, which receives up to 80% of sales revenue in the form of dividends, royalties and taxes.
Production in Debswana fell 29% in 2020 to 16.6 million carats and sales fell 30% to $ 2.1 billion as the pandemic affected production and demand.
Debswana plans to increase production by up to 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23 million carats in 2021 as global diamond market recovers with relaxation of travel restrictions and reopening of jewelers .