Pastor finds the 13th LARGEST diamond ever weighing 709 carats

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Pastor finds the 13th LARGEST diamond ever weighing 709 carats

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has instructed mining authorities to sell the gem through an worldwide bid for interested parties from all over the world, said a statement from the country's minerals agency Saturday.

Emmanuel Momoh found the 706 carat diamond in the eastern region of Kono.

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.

Stellar said that the discovery reaffirms its belief that "Sierra Leone ranks in the very top tier globally for the production of large and high quality diamonds".

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

In a ceremony Wednesday, Koroma thanked the chief of Kono district, where the uncut gem was found, for "not smuggling the diamond out of the country". The diamond is being kept in a vault in the nation's central bank in Freetown for safekeeping.

The precious gem will be sold in a "transparent" bidding process and is believed that it will likely leave the country once it is bought.

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Last May, diamond-mining firm Lucara sold a 813-carat stone for $63m (£51m) at a closed auction in London.

Reportedly, the diamond in the top 20 of largest diamonds ever discovered.

Even if the new diamond gets the Kimberley Process stamp of approval, the citizens of Sierra Leone are already sceptical they will benefit from the sale. Even with a blemish, the diamond could easily be worth millions.

The clergyman found the stone near the village of Yakadu while supplementing his income by freelance mining, a practice many take up in Sierra Leone.

A gem analyst from the United States stated that an artisan miner finding such a large diamond working with his bare hands and a few basic tools is highly unusual.

In May a year ago, mining firm Lucara sold a 813-carat diamond for £51m at an auction in London.

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