Sierra Leone pastor finds huge 709-carat diamond

Sunday, 19 Mar, 2017

A pastor in Sierra Leone has unearthed one of the world's largest uncut diamonds.

Sierra Leone suffered from an 11-year civil conflict partially financed by blood diamonds, resulting in the incarceration of Liberia's former President Charles Taylor, who was sentenced in 2012.

It will be sold in Sierra Leone in a "transparent" bidding process to benefit the country, according to a government statement. He encouraged others to follow Pastor Momoh's example and praised him for not attempting to smuggle the valuable gem from the country. There's no guarantee that diamonds certified by the Kimberley Process are actually conflict-free, due to the ongoing presence of corrupt government officials in numerous countries involved.

A massive uncut diamond has been found in West Africa by the most unlikely of people: A pastor.

The gem may not be the largest ever found, but it's pretty close. The African country has a large diamond industry and freelance diamond hunters are common.

It is the second largest diamond discovered in Sierra Leone, with the largest discovered in 1972.

Mr. Nyaungwa explains that it is a hard task to estimate the worth of the diamond.

Without a professional assessment of the diamond's potential flaws and colouring it is impossible to value the stone.

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.

Still, an 813-carat diamond sold for $63 million (£51m) at a closed auction in London last May.

Sierra Leone's gross national income per capita stood at US$620 (S$870) in 2015, according to World Bank data. Miners dig in river beds looking for treasure.

Sierra Leone is one of Africa's largest diamond exporters.