By Michelle Graff
The diamonds are said to be of top color and clarity, with the largest among them weighing in at almost 26 carats.
London—Five blue diamonds weighing between 10 and 26 carats were recovered in a single week from a famous diamond mine in South Africa.

Miner Petra Diamonds Ltd. announced the recovery of the stones from the Cullinan Mine Wednesday, describing them as top color and clarity and noting they are not believed to have broken off the same rough diamond.

The diamonds weigh 9.61, 11.42, 17.57, 21.25 and 25.75 carats.

Petra noted it’s been a year since it has recovered a blue diamond of significance from Cullinan, which makes finding five high-quality diamonds in the span of one week even more unusual.

The company said it is still evaluating how and when it will sell these five stones, citing the travel restrictions associated with COVID-19.

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The recovery of the five blues is a bright spot for the struggling London-based mining company, which operates the Finsch and Koffiefontein mines in South Africa and the open-pit Williamson mine in Tanzania in addition to Cullinan.

Saddled with debt and hit with power outages in South Africa, lower diamonds prices and, now, a diamond market hobbled by COVID-19, Petra announced in June it was trying to find a buyer for some or all its mines.

It said Wednesday that while the recovery of the five blue diamonds was a “positive development,” it “will not have a material impact on the likely terms of the required long-term solution to improve the group’s capital structure, nor the significant level of equity dilution that existing shareholders are likely to experience in connection with its implementation.”

In addition to its financial troubles, Petra is facing claims of human rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania, which was mothballed in April.

U.K. law firm Leigh Day—the same firm that represented the Mozambicans who sued Gemfields over human rights abuses at its ruby mine there—has filed claims in the High Court of England and Wales against Petra and Williamson Diamonds Ltd. on behalf of 32 individuals who say the mining companies’ security contractor is responsible for deaths, injuries and other human rights abuses at and surrounding the mining site.

National Jeweler will have more on this story next week.

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