GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — 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 large diamond — 73 millimeters long, 52 millimeters wide and 27 millimeters thick — is the largest gem-quality diamond found in Debswana's mines in the company's more than 50-year history, she said. 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, Armstrong said.
"The first sighting of the stone was on the first of June by our colleagues Kefentse Orakeng and Phodiso Selaledi when it was processed in the Aquarium plant. This sighting was confirmed three days later in the sort house on June 4th by a team led by Wapula Gaolatlhe," she said.
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.