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Largest diamond found in 100 years named

Feb 09 2016 15:58
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - The 1 111 carat diamond discovered in Botswana has officially been named "Lesedi La Rona", which means "our light" in Setswana.

This is the largest diamond to be discovered in 100 years and is second in size only to the Cullinan diamond in the British Crown jewels.

The company that found the diamond - Lucara Diamond Corporation - held a naming ceremony at the Investing in African Mining Indaba on Tuesday.

The diamond will go on a road show under tight security, and it will likely be sold by mid-year, the company said. Lucara won't polish or cut the diamond before selling it.

The naming of the diamond comes after a naming competition in which 11 000 email entries and 1 000 SMSs were submitted.

The winner of the competition, Thembani Moitlhobogi, will win 25 000 pula (about R35 600). He said in his entry that the diamond is the pride and hope of Botswana and is a part of its heritage.

The diamond is a type IIa, which makes up 1.8% of gem diamonds, according to Wikipedia. “These diamonds are almost or entirely devoid of impurities, and consequently are usually colourless and have the highest thermal conductivity.”

Many large famous diamonds are type IIa, like the Cullinan and the Koh-i-Noor.

The company’s focus on mining the south lobe was perfectly timed with the commissioning of their recent plant modifications, enabling the recovery of these large, high quality exceptional diamonds, said Lucara CEO William Lamb.

The Vancouver-based company’s assets include the Karowe Mine in Botswana, two Precious Stone Exploration Licenses in Botswana and the Mothae Project in Lesotho.

The 100% owned Karowe Mine is in production, while the 75% owned Mothae Project is currently being divested.

Lucara chief operating officer Paul Day raises as toast to the largest diamond found in 100 years, Lesedi La Rona, at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday. (Photo: Matthew le Cordeur)

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