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A Christian pastor from Sierra Leone had discovered one of the world’s largest alluvial diamond. But instead of selling it off at a private high-end auction or to an international museum, he decided to donate the massive, 706-carat stone to his government. The reason for his generosity? To help his countrymen. 

The biggest diamond discovered in Sierra Leone was in 1972 weighing 969 carats (left). Pastor Emmanuel Momoh (right). (Youtube) 

Not a blood diamond

Pastor Emmanuel Momoh is the proud owner of the diamond which is reportedly the largest uncut diamond found inside the country since 1972. Although it is unclear how he found the rock, the pastor decided to hand over the diamond to his government. The proceeds generated from the sale will go towards rebuilding the country's economy and help support the country's development goals.

“We lack a lot of things. We don't have a good road network, we don't have better schools or drinking water. I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges,” Momoh told the Associated Press. He hopes that the money will go toward building electricity and transportation facilities in Sierra Leone after almost 30 years of electricity blackouts.

Sierra Leone’s diamond wealth had triggered a decade-long bloody civil war that ended in the year 2002. Despite all the mineral and diamond wealth that can be found in about a quarter of Sierra Leone's topography, the African nation of more than six million people still remains one of the poorest countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

Sierra Leone boasts of great mineral wealth but still remains one of the poorest countries in the world. (Youtube)

The diamond, now known as the 'peace diamond', was found in an artisanal mine in the village of Koyadu in eastern Kono district early this year and was handed to the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in March.

“A gift from god and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it,” said presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay.

Sierra Leone's economy was ravaged by a 10-year-long civil war fuelled by 'blood diamonds.' (Youtube)

"Receiving the diamond President Koroma thanked the chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country," an official government statement further declared. The President further encouraged others to emulate the pastor’s example and stated that the diamond would be sold to the highest bidder and whatever is due to the owner, the government would distribute it accordingly. He also appreciated the fact that the diamond wasn't smuggled off the country.

The diamond is said to be a little smaller in size than a hockey puck. (Youtube)

Since eons, Sierra Leone's government has tried to keep a check on cross-border diamond trafficking in order to lure foreign investors inwards, stating how 'blood diamonds' that fuelled its civil war are now a thing of the past. 

The diamond for the longest time was held in safe custody in Sierra Leone’s central bank in Freetown and was later, only this month, auctioned off in New York for a staggering $6.5 million, according to Malaysian Digest.  

The diamond was discovered in an artisanal mine—a mind operated by workers using their bare hands to discover minerals instead of machines. (Youtube)

...''somewhere between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever recovered"

The yellow-tinted gem is the second-largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone. Prior to its discovery, in 1972, a much larger 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone was found by miners that went under the hammer for about $2.5 million.

The world's largest diamonds ever found in the history of mankind. (Youtube)

The diamond shares the same dimensions as that of a hockey puck. If diamond expert Paul Zimnisky is to be believed, the diamond could be anything "between the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever recovered".

In the New York Auction, it was declared that Sierra Leone will receive 3.9 million dollars from the proceeds of the sale which was purchased by British billionaire jeweler Laurence Graff.

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