Big diamond unearthed by Canadian firm set for auction

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LONDON – A London auctioneer says a diamond the size of a tennis ball that was unearthed by a Vancouver-based mining company could sell for more than $70 million US.

Sotheby’s says it will offer the Lesedi la Rona diamond in London on June 29.

The diamond was unearthed in November in Botswana at a mine owned by Lucara Diamond Corp. (TSX:LUC). It measured 1,109 carats, the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered.

Its name means “our light” in the Tswana language. It is the largest discovered in more than a century.

The auctioneer said Wednesday that the rough gemstone could yield the largest top-quality diamond ever cut and polished.

Last year, Lucara sold a 341.9-carat diamond of the same type for US$20.55 million.

The largest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, unearthed in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into nine pieces that form part of the U.K. Crown Jewels.

–With files from The Canadian Press