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Large Diamond Unearthed In Sierra Leone

Large Diamond Unearthed In Sierra Leone
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Reports of a major diamond discovery in western Africa over the weekend have started to make noise.

Sierra Leone's National Minerals Agency, according to Agence France-Presse, says a diamond, worth around $6.2 million, was unearthed in the country's eastern Kono district.

"This 153.44-carat diamond is one of the finest diamonds to be found in Sierra Leone in the last 10 years," the agency said in a statement.

Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest countries, is still recovering from a devastating, 11-year-long civil war that ended over a decade ago. That war also popularized the term “blood diamond,” meaning diamonds and other precious gems sold to help arm and advance such conflicts.

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In the meantime, Sierra Leone is working on attracting more international investment via its wealth in diamonds, gold, titanium ore and other mineral riches.

According to the World Diamond Council, about $13 billion worth of rough diamonds are produced annually worldwide – with African nations producing about 65 percent of that total. Less than a third of all diamonds are considered gem-quality, with the rest going for industrial use. But the international diamond jewelry industry continues to grow – reportedly increasing three-fold in the past 25 years – with sales of over $72 billion per year.

Late last month, a rare, blue diamond was discovered at the renowned Cullinan mine in South Africa. The Daily Mail newspaper says the grape-sized diamond has unusual clarity, and might bring over £10 million ($16.6 million) when sold, But the mine's owners, Petra Diamonds (OTC: PDMDF), say they won't know the stone's true worth until a buyer emerges.

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