The 1,098-carat rough stone discovered by Debswana, believed to be the third-largest gem-quality diamond ever to have been mined.
“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” said Lynette Armstrong, acting managing director of the Debswana Diamond Company, which is a joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers.
The stone was presented to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on June 16, 2021, by Ms. Armstrong, reportedly only two weeks after it had been discovered. Debswana, which operates several mines in the diamond-rich country, did not reveal at which of its facilities it had been found.
According to the Botswana Minister of Mineral Resources, Lefoko Moagi, the 1,098-carat diamond is 73 millimeters by 52 millimeters by 27 millimeters.
The two rough stones that take first and second place in the history books are the 3,106-carat Cullinan stone recovered in South Africa in 1905, and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, which was mined in Botswana, but not by Debswana, but rather by Lucara Diamonds in 2015.
Debswana’s new diamond find is as yet unnamed.
DISCOVERY GOOD NEWS FOR BOTSWANA GOVERNMENT
The discovery of the 1,098-carat came at an opportune time for the both the company and the country, which are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Production at Debswana was down by 29 percent in 2020 to 16.6-million carats, with sales falling even more precipitously, by 30 percent to $2.1 billion as the pandemic impacted.
This year Debswana says that production will spike by 38 percent to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 23 million carats.
This will be welcome news to the government, which earns as much as 80 percent of the income from Debswana through dividends, royalties and taxes. The government also is the minority shareholder in De Beers itself, holding a 15 percent stake to Anglo American’s 85 percent.
Moving ore at Debswana’s giant Jwaneng mine.
Debswana still has to decide how the diamond will be sold. “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.
KUROWA’S THIRD 300-PLUS CARAT FIND IN 2021
The second diamond to be discovered was a 470-carat top light brown diamond from the Canada-headquartered Lucara’s 100 percent owned Karowe Diamond Mine. It measured 49 millimeters by 42 millimeters 26 millimeters, and was the third stone over 300 carats to have uncovered at the mine just this year.
Through June 2021, Karowe has produced 11 diamonds greater than 100 carats, including this latest one. Seven were larger than 200 carats, including two high quality stones weighing 341 carats and 378 carats, both of which were discovered in January.
The 470-carat stone was recovered from direct milling of ore sourced from the mines the South Lobe. “The benefits of a South Lobe dominated mine-plan continue to be realized in 2021 and underpins our confidence in the ever-improving Karowe resource as we mine deeper in the open pit to 2026 and move into underground mining out to at least 2040,” said Eira Thomas, Lucara’s CEO “Both main rock types from the South Lobe continue to deliver large, high value diamonds.”