FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A Sierra Leone official says a $7.7 million bid for a 709-carat diamond has failed because it didn’t meet the government’s target price.

The diamond discovered in March caused a sensation and is the second-largest ever found in this West African nation. The gem, a bit smaller than a hockey puck, is among the 20 largest diamonds ever found.

The director-general of the National Minerals Agency, Sahr Wonday, says the highest bid at Thursday’s auction was turned down.

Wonday says the diamond will be auctioned again in Belgium to get the best price. He is not disclosing the government’s reserve price.

In 1972, the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone was found by miners and sold for about $2.5 million.

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