Sierra Leone pastor finds huge 706-carat diamond

Mar 19, 2017, 00:05
Sierra Leone pastor finds huge 706-carat diamond

Within the mines of eastern Sierra Leone, a pastor found quite a treasure: a diamond that could be one of the largest ever discovered.

President Ernest Bai Koroma thanked Pastor Emmanuel Momoh for not smuggling the diamond, which is now locked at central bank in the capital Freetown, Christian website Premier reported.

Pastor Emmanuel Momoh told The Associated Press that he donated the diamond because he was inspired by the development now underway in Kono District, where the gem was found.

The death toll from Sierra Leone's civil war is estimated at 120,000 in a country that now has roughly six million people, making it one of Africa's deadliest conflicts in recent history. It is also the second-biggest diamond ever discovered in Sierra Leone, next to the massive 969-carat diamond christened the "Star of Sierra Leone", which was dug up in 1972.

The diamond has not yet been valued or named. He added that the pastor and his community will get their fair compensation.

The precious gem will be sold in a "transparent" bidding process and is believed that it will likely leave the country once it is bought.

US -based diamond expert Paul Zimnisky told AFP the gem could rank "between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever discovered".

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The gem may not be the largest ever found, but it's pretty close.

The United Nations lifted a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone in 2003.

It's easy to be cynical about the situation, and the fate of the proceeds gleaned from the diamond, but there may be reason for optimism.

The black diamond was discovered in Brazil in 1893.

An 813-carat diamond sold for £51 million at auction in London last summer.

For individuals growing up in Sierra Leone becoming an artisan miner is just the natural thing to do.