An African pastor has stumbled across a huge 706-carat diamond in a mine in Sierra Leone.
The Christian pastor, Emmanuel Momoh was working in the Kono region of Sierra Leone’s Tankoro chiefdom, according to the Guardian.
The government has said the diamond will be sold off in a ‘transparent’ bidding war and the proceeds will go towards benefiting the community’s infrastructure.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) March 17, 2017
A government statement read:
A 706-carat diamond was presented to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday evening. Receiving the diamond President Koroma thanked the chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country.
The diamond was presented on Thursday and awaits expert confirmation of its legitimacy. Meanwhile, it’s expected the precious gemstone is one of the largest discovered.
Diamond expert Paul Zimnisky speculates Momoh’s discovery could be ‘between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever recovered’
Most recent exceptional diamond discoveries have been made by large commercial miners that mine very large volumes of kimberlite ore and process it with advanced equipment.
Artisanal mining tends to produce smaller, lower quality diamonds because the diamonds suffer breakage and erosion.
The stone is yet to be valued but Zimnisky expects it will be sold outside of the realms of Sierra Leone, to allow wider access for buyers.
According to the Guardian, the sale of blood diamonds funded African civil war throughout the 1990s.
The conflict inflicted an estimated death toll of 120,000.