London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 September 2008 – Miners in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho have found one of the world’s largest diamonds – a near-flawless white gem weighing nearly 500 carats.
In a weekend statement released here, Gem Diamonds Limited – a global diamond producer with African operations in Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – revealed that the diamond had been discovered in its Letseng Mine earlier this month. It had been analysed by experts in Antwerp and found to weigh 478 carats, with very few inclusions and of outstanding colour and clarity.
Reuters quoted the statement as adding: “It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D colour round polished diamonds in history.” Letseng is one of the most productive mines in history — four of the world’s 20 largest rough diamonds have been found at the mine, including the three largest found this century.
The news agency explained that before it had been cut into gems it was hard to value the diamond, but a spokesman for Gem Diamonds said a similar weight stone with lower colour and clarity had recently sold for US$12 million (R90 million).
“Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates that it will yield a record- breaking polished stone of the very best colour and clarity,” said Gem Diamonds chief executive Clifford Elphick.
Lesotho minister for natural resources Monyane Moleleki added: “Once again Letseng has proved its ability to produce extraordinary diamonds, and it continues to place Lesotho at the forefront of diamond producing countries.”
Letseng is 70% owned by Gem Diamonds and 30% by the government of Lesotho.