Owned by the Botswana government and the South African diamond company De Beers, the mining company Debswana announced on Wednesday June 16 the discovery of a 1,098-carat stone, which would make it the third largest known diamond in the world.
In terms of carats, the stone remains far behind the two largest diamonds ever found, the mythical Cullinan (discovered in 1905 in South Africa with a mass of 3106 carats) and the Sergio, the largest black rough diamond ever discovered (in the Brazilian state of Bahia, in 1895), which weighed 3167 carats.
In any case, the news confirms Botswana’s status as a diamond El Dorado; the southern African country, the continent’s largest diamond producer and one of the world’s largest, is familiar with this kind of spectacular find. In 2015, a 1,109-carat diamond named Lesedi La Rona was found in a mine in the northeast of the country and sold two years later for $53 million, becoming the second most expensive diamond in history.
Although it is too early to estimate the value of the rough diamond found, the stone will in all likelihood be sold at auction. It will then be up to the lucky owner to determine whether it should be kept whole or split into several pieces. For his part, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who was able to hold the translucent stone in his hands, has already announced that the profits from the sale of the diamond will be invested « in national development needs.
Launched in the 1960s, thanks to several discoveries of exceptional deposits, the diamond industry has allowed Botswana to build one of the most dynamic economies in the world since 1960 (5% average annual growth) and this with a governance hailed for its transparency: according to Transparency International, Botswana is the second least corrupt African country after the Seychelles. In total, national production represented more than 23.7 million carats in 2019 – ranking the country second in the world, behind Russia – and nearly two-thirds of the supply of the South African company De Beers, the country’s preferred partner since its independence in 1966.