Indian miner becomes millionaire after 26-carat diamond find

Sushil Shukla says he 'lucked out' after 20 years of hard prospecting

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A miner in India has become a millionaire overnight after digging up a 26.11 carat diamond, one of the largest precious stones in the history of the mine.

Sushil Shukla, 47, from Kishoreganj in central Madhya Pradesh, unearthed the diamond worth 12 million rupees ($160,000) at a mine in Panna on Monday.

Panna is the centre of diamond mining in India and has reserves estimated at 120 million carats, according to government figures.

Fortune-seekers such as Mr Shukla have long been involved in mining in search of the precious stones.

“I have lucked out this time. I cannot believe I have found a diamond of this size. I had seen small diamonds, but this is enormous,” Mr Shukla told The National.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I touched it for the first time. My eyes were glistening with its shine,” he said.

Mr Shukla runs a small brick kiln and had been mining on government contracts without much success for 20 years before Monday’s discovery.

He took a shallow mine on lease with five partners last month and spent $135 on the lease payment and workers.

“My patience has finally paid off … my life has changed for ever,” he said.

Workers cut and polish diamonds on a production line at a processing centre in Surat. AFP

The gemstone has been submitted to local authorities and it will be auctioned this week.

Experts said the diamond could fetch more than 12 million rupees and the proceeds would be given to Mr Shukla after deduction of government royalties and taxes.

“This is 11th largest diamond that has been mined from Panna. We have valued it depending on its colour, clarity, edges and quality,” Ravi Patel, the district mining officer, told The National.

“We will deduct an 11 per cent royalty and give the remaining sum to the miner,” he said.

Last September, a farmer became a millionaire after he found a 12.08 carat diamond at one of the reserves in Panna. The stone was sold for 4.3 million rupees.

Updated: February 23, 2022, 3:22 PM
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