706-carat diamond unearthed by pastor in Sierra Leone

Freetown, March 17
A Christian pastor working in a Sierra Leone mine has discovered a 706-carat diamond, media reports said.

Emmanuel Momoh, who was working in the West African country's east Kono region, found the precious stone which could be the tenth largest diamond ever found, Daily Mail online reported.

According to a government statement, the stone will be sold in Sierra Leone in a transparent bidding process to benefit the country.

"A 706-carat diamond was presented to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday evening. Receiving the diamond President Koroma thanked the chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country," the statement read.

Diamond expert Paul Zimnisky said it could be "between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever recovered" and such a find is very rare in a small mine.

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

A 1,111-carat diamond was discovered at a Botswana mine in 2015, the biggest find for more than a century.

That gem is second in size only to the 3,106- carat uncut Cullinan diamond which was unearthed in South Africa in 1905.

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