Recently an African pastor, Emmanuel Momoh, of Sierra Leone found one of the largest diamonds ever unearthed. The 709 karat diamond was discovered by the pastor in the region of Kono, which is a diamond-rich area. At 709 karats, the diamond is the thirteenth largest diamond ever found. The largest diamond ever mined was found in 1905 in South Africa and weighs in at 3,106 karats. The pastor, like many others in the very poor Kono District, participates in freelance or artisanal mining. This method is used to supplement the income of those in the region. These freelancers do not work for or in conjunction with any of the massive diamond mining companies in Sierra Leone. Instead, they take on the difficult, back-breaking work in the hopes of mining a few valuable minerals to support their otherwise sparse incomes.
After finding the diamond, Emmanuel turned it over to the government of Sierra Leone. Emmanuel Momoh’s diamond is supposedly being held in a bank in Freetown. The government plans to auction off the diamond to benefit the entire country. Ernest Bai Boroma, Sierra Leone’s president, assured the public that the auction of the diamond would be an entirely transparent process. President Boroma further thanked Mr. Momoh “for not smuggling the diamond out of the country.” The exact value of the diamond has not yet been determined. In fact, no one has publicly stated that the diamond is of gemstone quality. The quality, not the size, is what determines the value of diamonds and some believe that Mr. Momoh’s diamond may have a flaw. Nevertheless, a diamond of 813 karats was sold last May by the diamond mining company Lucara for $63 million dollars or £51 million pounds in a closed London auction.
While the value is not yet known, Mr. Momoh’s diamond is providing hope to the people of Sierra Leone. As the world watches this process unfold let us hope that the government of Sierra Leone keeps their promises and that Mr. Momoh is properly rewarded, and the people of Sierra Leone are given the resources and assistance they deserve.