A week ago, a Sierra Leonean Pastor was reported to have discovered a 706-carat diamond in Kono, the largest diamond producing region Sierra Leone.
The diamond is said to be the second largest diamond ever found in the country; and also what is thought to be the 13th largest rough diamond ever to be found.
Ever since the discovery, the pastor has seen the hand of God in the incident. Report says that the pastor on his own set out to search for diamonds in the mining sector of eastern Kono in Sierra Leone.
The search was assisted by the Pastor’s workers. Pastor Momoh is a self-employed minor with a permit to mine for diamonds. Individual search for diamonds seems to be a common thing in the country.
On the discovery, the overjoyed pastor made a trip to the nation’s capital, Free Town, to present the precious stone to the government.
The pastor then handed the diamond over to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who in turn thanked the pastor for not acting dubious over the 706-carat diamond which definitely costs a fortune.
Instead of smuggling the diamonds out, the pastor trusted the government enough to sell “the historical stone in a set bidding process”.
By presenting the diamond to the government, both parties get to share in the monetary profits of the diamond sale.
Mathew Nyaungwa from Rough and Polished diamond analysts, says that the value of the diamond cannot be determined now as it may contain blemishes. He says “quality not size determines the value of a diamond”.
However the first and largest discovery in the country was the 1972 968.9-carat diamond which sold for $2.5 million. Likewise, a Canadian diamond-mining firm Lucara sold an 813-carat stone for $63 million (£51 million) in a London auction last year.
Currently the 706-carat diamond is locked in Freetown’s central bank vault where it will be formally valued and accredited as a conflict-free diamond under the Kimberley Process.
The government and the lucky pastor have separately pledged to use their stakes in the diamond sale for the good of the people.
While the government hopes to invest theirs in national development, Pastor Momoh intends to improve the lives of the people in whose community the diamond was found.
“I have an action plan. I have to give my tithes. I promised God. I know that God still has a plan for me.”
“After giving my tithes, the village where we got the diamond, we have to make a bridge, we have to build a school, we have to improve the lives of the people.”
Pastor Momoh also intends to build a “magnificent church”.
It was indeed thoughtful and a blessing for Sierra Leone that the pastor presented the discovery to the government. Not only will it impact in the economy, it gives the diamond-rich nation an acceptable reputation.
The West African nation still faces a UN ban on diamond exports. Report says that the government is making a headway in curbing diamond trafficking.
Interestingly BBC records that the world’s 5 largest diamonds were all discovered in Africa.
- Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905, weighed 3,107 carats
- Lesedi La Rona, found in Botswana in 2015, weighed 1,111 carats
- Excelsior Diamond, found in South Africa in 1893, weighed 995 carats
- Star of Sierra Leone, found in Sierra Leone in 1972, weighed 969 carats
- Incomparable Diamond, found in DR Congo in 1984, weighed 890 carats