Debswana Recovers Third Largest Diamond at Jwaneng Diamond Mine

Debswana Diamond Company, a fifty-fifty partnership company between the Botswana Government and De Beers, founded 52 years ago in 1969, one of the World’s leading diamond producers by both value and volume, operating four diamond mines, announced recently the sensational discovery of an extraordinarily large gem-quality rough diamond at their Jwaneng Diamond Mine, the largest ever rough diamond recovered since the company began operations five decades ago.

1,098.3-carat enormous gem quality rough diamond recovered from jwaneng mine

1,098.3-carat enormous gem quality rough diamond recovered from Jwaneng mine

The high-quality rough diamond of dimensions 73 x 52 x 27 mm has a enormous weight of 1,098.3 carats and was recovered from Jwaneng mine’s South Kimberlite Pipe on June 1st, 2021 according to a press release by the company. The Jwaneng diamond mine, which officially started productiion in 1982, is currently undergoing a USD 2 billion expansion project to extend its life span upto year 2035

Another image of 1098 carat enormous gem quality rough diamond

Another image of 1098 carat enormous gem quality rough diamond

The enormous gem-quality rough diamond is believed to be the third largest gem-quality rough diamond ever recovered from a mine, after the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, the biggest ever rough diamond found in Souith Africa in 1905 and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona found at Lucara’s Karowe Mine, also in Botswana in 2015. The Cullinan diamond was subsequently cut into several satellite diamonds some of which became part of the Crown Jewels of the British Royal Family. The Lesedi La Rona was sold to Luxury Jeweller Graff for USD 53 million in the year 2017, and was subsequently cut and presented as one large diamond and 66 smaller diamonds on April 10, 2019. The main stone named Graff Lesedi La Rona weighing 302.37 carats became the World’s largest Emerald-cut, D-Color, high-clarity diamond, which according to Graff is the largest highest clarity, highest color diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.

Leseidi La Rona polished diamonds

Leseidi La Rona polished diamonds

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Rough diamonds are classified as gem-quality, near-gem quality or industrial quality, depending on their color and clarity. Hence, not all large diamonds recovered from mines create sensational news. A diamond larger than the Lesedi La Rona and the present 1,098.3-carat diamond, found in Botswana in 2019, the 1,758-carat “Sewelo diamond” was such a stone, not considered as gem-quality, and was reportedly purchased by French luxury-brand Louis Vuitton in 2020 for an undisclosed sum.

President Masisi holding the enormous diamond as first lady Jane Masisi looks on

President Masisi holding the enormous diamond as first lady Jane Masisi looks on

The first official viewing of the 1,098.3-carat rough diamond was held by Debswana in mid-June in the august presence of the President of the Republic Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, who said the proceeds from the diamond will be used for national development. The Company’s acting Managing Director Lynette Armstrong presented the stone to His Excellency the President.

Botswana’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, inspects Debswana’s find

Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, inspects Debswana’s find

An official government Twitter account stated that, “Proceeds from the diamond will be used to advance National Development in the country. Debswana should use this latest discovery as an inflection point, for the mine to use its technology to realize more of these large discoveries.” President Masisi’s Office also posted a series of pictures showing the diamond being presented to the President and his Cabinet.

Jwaneng mine

Lynette Armstrong fuirhter stated, “This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation. From our premilinary analysis it could be the World’s third largset gem-quality stone. We are yet to make a decision on whether to sell it through the De Beers Channel ot through the State-owned Okavango Diamond Company.”

She further stated, “the rare and extraordinary stone means so much in the context of diamonds and Botswana. It brings hope to a Nation that is struggling.”

Lefoko Moagi, the Minerals Minister, said, “The discovery of the stone, which is yet to be named but measures 73 by 52 by 27 mm, could not have come at a better time after the Covid-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.”

1098-carat gem quality rough diamond

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Debswana, is a joint venture between Anglo-American’s De Beers and the Botswana Government, and the latter receives as much as 80% of the income from sales, through dividends, royalties and taxes.

In the year 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic affected both production and demand for diamonds, resulting in Debswana’s production falling by 29% to 16.6 million carats and sales falling by 30% to USD 2.1 billion. However, in the year 2021, as the global diamond market recovers with the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellers, Debswana is planning to increase output by as much as 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23 million carats.

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