The unearthing of a 706-carat diamond by a pastor in Sierra Leone has been reported by the government, in one of the largest precious stone finds ever made worldwide. Pastor Emmanuel Momoh made this discovery in an artisanal mine in the village of Koyadu in eastern Kono district.

Reporting this discovery, a government was quoted as saying on Thursday:

“A 706-carat diamond was presented to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday evening,” the statement said.

“Receiving the diamond President Koroma thanked the chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country,” it added, referring to the Tankoro chiefdom where Momoh uncovered the gem.

Probed further on the faith of the discovered diamond, the statement further reads:

The diamond will be sold in Sierra Leone with a “transparent” bidding process to the benefit of the community and country.

“I have to help the government and my people, so all of us can benefit,” presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay quoted the pastor as saying.

Sierra Leone’s government has attempted to crack down on cross-border diamond trafficking to persuade foreign investors that “blood diamonds” that fuelled its civil war are a thing of the past.

Diamond expert Paul Zimnisky told the AFP news agency that once the gem’s quality was assessed it could rank “between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever recovered”.

Diamonds are historically found in about a quarter of Sierra Leone, however, the country of about six million people is one of the world’s five poorest nations, according to the United Nations.

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