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De Beers unit discovers 1,098 carat diamond, may be third-biggest ever

The biggest-ever Cullinan Diamond is 3,106-carat and the second-largest Lesedi la Rona is 1,109-carat - a diamond the size of a tennis ball.

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De Beers unit discovers 1,098 carat diamond, may be third-biggest ever
A 1,098-carat diamond, believed to be the third-largest gem-quality stone ever, discovered in Botswana (Image Source: Reuters)
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    In what could be the world's third-largest diamond, Botswanan diamond firm Debswana has unearthed a 1,098-carat stone on June 1, the largest since the company began operations five decades ago. Debswana Diamond Company is a unit of De Beers Plc.

    However, the valuation of the newly found diamond is due in a few weeks.

    Preliminary analysis suggests the stone is the world’s third-largest gem-quality diamond ever after the Cullinan Diamond that was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and the Lesedi la Rona that was found in Botswana in 2015. The biggest-ever Cullinan Diamond is 3,106-carat and the second-largest Lesedi la Rona is 1,109-carat - a diamond the size of a tennis ball.

    This diamond has already been put on display, but official confirmation of the stone being the third-largest in the world is still awaited. The stone was discovered at Jwaneng, the world's richest mine by value, which is undergoing a USD 2 billion expansion. 

    Debswana is a 50/50 partnership between Botswana and De Beers to mine the gems in the southwestern African nation. Last year, the company produced 16.6 million carats, compared with 23.3 million carats in 2019.

    Botswana accounts for more than two-thirds of De Beers' output, while the country relies on diamonds for 90% of its exports. Last year, the nation's total rough diamond sales fell 30% to $2.1 billion as mines suspended production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Lefoko Moagi, Botswana's Minerals Minister, said the find came at the right time as the pandemic had caused diamond sales to slump last year.

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