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Striking It Big: At 709 carats, Sierra Leone pastor finds one of the biggest diamonds ever discovered


March, 2017

M. DeHart

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The 709 carat diamond found in Sierra Leone earlier this month.

Reverend Momoh’s  709 carat diamond found in eastern Sierra Leone.

Earlier this month an enormous rough diamond was found in Kona, Sierra Leone.

The second largest ever found in Sierra Leone, this 709 carat diamond is well within the 20 largest ever discovered. Artisanal miner Reverend Emmanuel Momoh was at the head of the digging team in Koyadu where the yet to be named diamond was found. It was first taken to a local appraiser to ensure that such a large rock was legitimate, then presented to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

In Sierra Leone miners are allowed to keep diamond finds up to a certain size, but larger finds must be handed over to the government. This ruling came out of a combined desire to boost the desperately poor country’s economy as well as to follow trade agreements. Still, many try to smuggle diamonds out of the country for personal gain or to fund violent groups that plague the area.

A country still in recovery.

Still, some worried that officials would keep the diamond or use money from its sale for personal gains, mirroring the missing funds from the sale of the Star in Sierra Leone in 1972. After a  horrifying, decade-long civil war which ended in 2002, the country is still recovering despite its diamond-studded land. Many still smuggle the precious stones out, though the country has incorporated the Kimberley Process– an official certification and transportation process to ensure that rough diamonds originate not out of conflict. The Process aims to stop violent rebel groups from funding their causes from “blood diamonds,” and currently has been adopted by forty-eight participants.

plastiglomerate found on Kamilo Beach by Patricia Corcoran

Sierra Leone miners panning for diamonds.

In order to combat uncertainties over possible corruption, government officials have stated that they will be as transparent as possible throughout the sale process. A formal bidding will be underway in two weeks, and the proceeds will be used to benefit those involved in the finding as well as contribute to the country’s infrastructure.

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/03/21/pastor-discovers-706-carat-diamond-in-sierra-leone-village/#620b41845510
  2. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/sierra-leone-pastor-finds-massive-706-carat-diamond-170316155657104.html
  3. http://www.the-chiefexecutive.com/projects/africa-diamonds/
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/25/world/africa/sierra-leone-706-carat-diamond.html?_r=1



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