Canadian diamond-focused junior mining firm Lucara Diamond Corp has discovered the world's second-largest gem quality diamond ever recovered at its Karowe mine in Botswana, marking the largest diamond discovery in more than a century.
The precious stone, described as ''Type lla'', which denotes large stones, weighs 1,111 carats or approximately 222 grams, measuring 65mm by 56mm by 40mm, and roughly represents the size of a tennis ball.
Adding to the remarkable discovery, Lucara said it was also thrilled to announce two more exceptional findings of large diamonds from the same mine, which included an 813-carat stone, the sixth-largest ever recovered, and a 374-carat stone.
Lucara's president and CEO William Lamb commented, "I am truly at a loss for words. This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second-largest and also the sixth-largest gem quality diamonds ever mined. We are truly blessed by this amazing asset.
''The significance of the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century and the continued recovery of high quality stones from the south lobe, cannot be overstated,'' Lamb further stated.
Vancouver-based Lucara is a member of the Lundin Group of companies owned by the Ludin family. The diamond miner's main assets include its 100-per cent owned Karowe mine and two precious stone exploration assets in Botswana, and the Mothae project in Lesotho.
Lucara stock is listed on the stock exchanges of Toronto, Nasdaq Stockholm and Botswana.
Karowe is an open-pit operation based on a kimberlite pipe with probable reserves of 5.1 million carats. The project was commissioned in 2012.
The 75-per cent owned Mothae project is currently being divested, after the operation failed to meet the company's expectations due to low grade of mineral.
In 2015, the miner expects revenue of up to $240 million with sales of 420,000 carats, similar to last year.
Diamonds above 100 carats are rare. The biggest gem quality diamond ever discovered was the famed Cullinan weighing 3,106 carats mined from South Africa in 1905. The stone was subsequently cut into several polished gems with the two largest currently forming part of Britain's Crown Jewels.
In a conference call Lamb said: "I'm already getting emails saying, 'Is the stone for sale?'
"We're not desperate to sell it," he said, adding that the company will sell it at some point, but only after figuring out its maximum value.