A History Of Diamond Mining

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For Centuries the only source known to man for diamonds were rivers. They were found in active rivers or in the beds of rivers long ago discharged up. In 1871 diamond pipes were discovered in South Africa. They were mined from kimberlite and lamproite volcanic pipes. Magma in these pipes guided the diamond crystals to the surface from deep in the earth. These crystals were formed by temperature and high pressure. Volcanic pipes are the primary source for diamonds.

The most commercially viable diamonds mines of today are found in Canada, Russia,
Australia, Botswana, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Siberia. Diamond miners are always searching for new rich diamond deposits the world over. Unfortunately, diamond mining is practically non-existent in the United States except for small deposits in Arkansas and Colorado.

In some of the unstable countries of Africa, revolutionary groups have taken over control of some of the diamond mines. They use the profits from the sale of the diamonds to finance their revolutionary goals. Blood Diamonds is the term used for diamonds mined and sold in this way. The Kimberly Process was thought about in 2002 by The United Nations, the diamond industry and countries who buy diamonds, to fight against these blood diamonds. The Kimberly Process ensures that diamonds exported from these countries are documented and certified and are not mined and qualified in this way. Only a small amount of these blood diamonds are able to slip through due to this process.

The actual removal of the diamond ore at a kimberlite mine site, starts with the opening of a pit at the source of the pipe. The ore is then removed with hydraulic shovels and ore trucks. Hard rock is drilled and explosive are used to break it up so it can be removed. Vertical shafts are often used as well when there is a rich ore deposit. Passageways are made to branch off from the shaft so no ore is missed. This is just one type of mining.

After the ore is removed from the mine is it processed or sorted. One method of sorting is by using a wash pan. This method allows the heaviest diamond ore to settle on the bottom and the waste material goes to the top. Density separations may be achieved by using cones and cyclones, grease tables, and x-ray separators. The final separations are done by the human eye.

Even after the listed diamonds reach their prospect markets, either for jewelry makers or industrial users of diamonds, they are sorted even more. The quality of a rough diamond finally determinates what it will absolutely be used for.

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Source by Dror Klar