A 1,098-carat diamond was discovered in Botswana, according to a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and the government, which is believed to be the third largest gem-quality gemstone ever mined.
The stone was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday by Acting General Manager of the Debswana Diamond Company, Lynette Armstrong. 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 excavated by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
“This is the largest diamond Debswana has found in over 50 years of operation,” said Armstrong.
“According to our preliminary analysis, it could be the third largest gem in the world. We have yet to decide whether to sell it through the De Beers Canal or through the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, ”said Armstrong.
Minerals Minister Lefoko Moagi said the discovery of the as-yet-unnamed stone could not have come at a better time after the Covid-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.
The government receives up to 80 percent of the revenue from Debswana’s sales through dividends, royalties and taxes.
Production at Debswana fell 29 percent to 16.6 million carats in 2020, while sales fell 30 percent to $ 2.1 billion as the pandemic impacted both production and demand.
In 2021, Debswana plans to increase production by up to 38 percent to 23 million carats before the pandemic, as the global diamond market recovers with the easing of travel restrictions and the reopening of jewelers.