Great diamonds are not commonly found by small, independent fossickers. Usually we expect the big diamond finds to be coming from large mining companies. After, all, they have all the tools and equipment. And they can pay for all the expert know how that is part of any big mining venture. But this week there was a really good news story of a huge diamond find by a lone “artisanal miner”. A pastor in Sierra Leone uncovered a whopping 706 carat diamond! This is the largest diamond to be found in four decades. Once assessed, it will probably the 1oth largest gem quality diamond ever found!
The very best part of this story, is that the pastor, Emmanuel Momoh, who is entitled to receive all of the proceeds of the sale of the diamond, (apart from a 4% fee payable to the government), has actually donated the diamond to the government. He has done this to help Sierra Leone and the government’s work in rebuilding the country.
Sierra Leone, despite it’s great diamonds, remains an impoverished nation. This is due to the terrible civil war that the country was embroiled in during the 1990’s. This war was funded in part by the sale of diamonds. The Kimberley Process is a system developed by the diamond industry and the UN to try to ensure that this cannot happen again. Only countries that the UN has declared to be “conflict free” are allowed to sell uncut diamonds to the diamond trade. Australia is part of this process. We do not want to profit from the misery caused by the sale of “blood diamonds”.
Great Diamonds Are rarely Found by Artisanal Miners
This was truly an amazing find. The Pastor is a licensed miner, but miners who use only basic equipment and their bare hands to sift through the earth usually only discover small, low quality gems. Certainly nothing on this scale. The government, (not surprisingly) has encouraged other miners to follow the Pastor’s example.
This really is a great story of self sacrifice and altruism. Imagine the difference that could be made to the lives of all those living in Sierra Leone if some of the big miners did follow suit…