DeBeers unit unearths giant diamond in Botswana

A 1,098-carat diamond, discovered in Botswana is seen in a handout picture received June 16, 2021 from Debswana Diamond Company/Handout via Reuters.

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Anglo American’s [AAL-LSE] De Beers Group unit, Debswana Diamond Company, and the government of Botswana announced the discovery of a 1,098-carat diamond believed to be the third largest gem-quality stone ever to be recovered, according to a Reuters article.

Debswana Diamond Company’s acting managing director Lynette Armstrong presented the spectacular gemstone to Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday June 16.

The world’s largest diamond is the 3,106-carat Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905.

Botswana has a past and present history of unearthing huge diamonds, for example, in 2015, Canadian company Lucara Diamond Corp. [LUC-TSX, Botswana, Sweden] recovered the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond as well as a number of other large diamonds, including a 470-carat stone last week.

“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” Armstrong said in the Reuters report. “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,” she added.

The new 1,098-carat diamond discovery, which measures 73mm long, 52mm wide and 27mm thick, has not yet been given a name, as is the custom.

The global diamond industry has been suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of both production and diamond sales. In Botswana, diamond-derived revenues such as sales, dividends and taxes are a critical part of the economy.

Following a significant decline in production during 2020, Debswana plans to increase output this year by as much as 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23 million carats as the global diamond market recovers thanks to people resuming their normal lives, the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellery stores.

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