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By: Norvisi Mawunyegah
According to a joint venture between Anglo American’s (AAL.L) De Beers and the government, a 1,098 carat diamond has been unearthed in Botswana, which is considered to be the third biggest gem-quality stone ever mined. Debswana Diamond Company acting managing director Lynette Armstrong delivered the stone to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday. After the 3,106 carat Cullinan stone discovered in South Africa in 1905 and 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona discovered by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015, it is the world’s third biggest.
“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” 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,” Armstrong said.
The discovery of the yet-to-be-named stone, which measures 73mm long, 52mm broad, and 27mm thick, could not have arrived at a better moment, according to Minerals Minister Lefoko Moagi, after the COVID-19 epidemic impacted diamond sales in 2020.
Dividends, royalties, and taxes account for up to 80% of the revenue generated by Debswana’s sales to the government. As a result of the epidemic, Debswana’s output decreased by 29 percent to 16.6 million carats in 2020, while sales plummeted by 30 percent to $2.1 billion. As the world diamond market improves with the relaxation of travel restrictions and the reopening of jewelers, Debswana expects to raise output by as much as 38 percent to pre-pandemic levels of 23 million carats in 2021.