The journey of diamonds, the prized possessions begin at the diamond mines located in different parts of the world, with Africa having the most number of diamond mines in the world. Kimberlite eruption, a specific type of volcanic eruption brings the igneous rock, Kimberlite that contains diamonds onto the layers of the earth closer to the surface. The igneous rock is named after the African city of Kimberley famous for its diamond mines.
It is in the vertical structures called Kimberlite pipes that the kimberlite is trapped.
Types Of Diamond Mining
Pit mining, alluvial mining, marine mining are the three common mining methods.
Pipe mining is the most common type of diamond mining where the diamonds are mined from their closest source, the Kimberlite pipes. Two types of pipe mining are:
- Open-Pit Mining
In open-pit mining, the layers of sand and rock just above the Kimberlite pipes are removed after which the ore obtained from the pit is broken down by blasting. The broken-down ore is then transported to a primary ore crusher, where the initial process of diamond extraction from the ore begins.
- Underground Mining
Underground mining doesn’t involve the removal of soil and rock layer above the Kimberlite. Instead, the miners reach the Kimberlite pipe through underground tunnels built one above the other. To connect the two mining tunnels, funnels are built, through which the ore blasted in the first levels falls to the second.
Exposure to environmental forces like rain, wind, and water currents wash away the diamonds from the Kimberlite pipes to riverbeds and beaches. The diamonds are often found in clay, mud, underwater plant life, etc. In the alluvial mining process, a large wall is built to collect gravel in the water, which then undergoes further processing.
In marine mining, diamonds are extracted from the seabed, and specially equipped ships are used for mining diamonds from the seabed. The mining ships use a powerful crawler to suck up the gravel on the seabed through pipes or hoses.
In the earlier times, mariners used to dive into the sea and collect diamond-containing gravel from the shallow seabed. Namibian coast is the richest known source of marine diamonds that account for 64% of the country’s total diamond production.
Mined diamonds undergo multiple processes before they attain the final form with the best cut and clarity. When you buy diamonds online or from physical stores, make sure that they are conflict-free.