Missing: One egg-sized diamond

2014-09-05 00:00

A FLAWLESS 78-carat diamond has been reported stolen from a safe in the Oranjemund branch of the Namibian mining company Namdeb.

Namdeb, which at first tried to find the thief or thieves internally, told Namibian detectives it has no explanation for how the chicken egg-sized diamond could have been stolen from the high security office monitored by satellite and CCTV.

Namdeb said the gem, which was found on July 18, is one of the two biggest diamonds yet sucked up by De Beers Marine.

The other big diamond found with the now-stolen diamond weighed 63 carats.

Both diamonds were transported on the same boat to the safe in Namdeb’s laboratory so their their geological composition could be analysed and registered with unique marks.

While the smaller stone was still in the safe when the theft was discovered early in August, its big brother is “just gone”.

Why the very rare diamond was never marked is one of the mysteries in the case.

Namdeb’s internal investigation lasted a month, during which time they checked the alibis of all staff at Oranjemund.

To put the loss in perspective, the Ekati Spirit, which weighed exactly the same as Namdeb’s stolen diamond, was sold as a rough diamond for $6,1 million (then R64,9 million).

The Republikein newspaper reports before the record-sized 78- and 63-carat diamonds, Namibia’s “biggest” diamond was 17,42 carats.

It was sucked from the sea bed near Lüderitz in June 2002. The second biggest one was a 12,8-carat, found in 2004.

The mining ships of De Beers Marine daily suck thousands of small diamonds from the sea bed off the West Coast that add up to between 2 000 and 3 000 carats. Most are smaller than the diamonds typically found on the land.

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