Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Diamonds of Lesotho

The 603-carat Lesotho Promise diamond was sold for over $12 million. The diamond was found in Lesotho in August, 2006 was the 15th largest rough diamond ever discovered.
Lesotho is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population around two million. Its capital and largest city is Maseru.

Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day
The Letseng diamond mine is owned by Gem Diamonds Ltd. and the government of Lesotho. At an elevation of 3,100 m (10,000 ft) it is the world's highest diamond mine.
The Letseng mine, in the Maluti mountains, is known for its large white diamonds. It has produced four of the top 20 largest white gem quality diamonds recorded since Gem Diamonds acquired a 70 percent stake in the mine in 2006. On August 6th a 198-carat white diamond was found.

The government of Lesotho owns 30 percent.
On Monday, September 2, 2014 it was reported that Lesotho's exiled prime minister had called on neighbouring South Africa to send troops to the tiny mountain kingdom after accusing the military of seizing power in a coup. Tom Thabane fled to South Africa on Saturday in fear of his life after the military surrounded his residence and attacked police headquarters, killing one officer and confiscating weapons.

Since then there have been reports of police deserting across the border, residents stocking up on food and basic necessities and confusion over who is running the country.
Coup-prone Lesotho's constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. At least 58 residents and eight South African soldiers died during a political standoff and subsequent fighting in 1998.

Thabane told the BBC he would return to the country "as soon as I know I am not going to get killed".