By Mark Ellis
A Sierra Leone pastor who supplements his income by working in the mines found one of the largest diamonds ever pulled from the earth, then gave it away.
Pastor Emmanuel Momoh found the gargantuan 706-carat stone in the Kono region. Experts said the stone could be worth as much as $62 million, depending on the quality. It was the largest diamond discovery since 1972, according to Africa Today.
Industry analysts said it is the 13th largest uncut diamond ever extracted.
Pastor Momoh presented the diamond to the president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, with instructions that the gem be used for the betterment of the poor in Sierra Leone.
“I believe the government can do more,” Momoh told Africa Today, “especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges.” The pastor said he would like to see improved access to electricity and transportation for the poor.
After Pastor Momoh gave the remarkable gift to the government, it was locked in a vault at the Bank of Sierra Leone in the Freetown capital, according to Africa Today.
People in the village of Yakadu, where the pastor found the diamond, live in an area that has been devastated by a bloody civil war and the Ebola crisis.