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Diamond Mining

There are Two Different Methods Used to Mine Diamonds

How often do you think about the diamonds you wear? Where they come from? How they're mined? What do you know about diamond mining?

Natural diamonds, as opposed to synthetic diamonds or fake diamonds, are mined from the earth. There are currently two methods of mining diamonds: Pipe Mining and Alluvial Mining.

Pipe Mining method

When pipe mining is used, the diamonds are extracted from the earth through volcanic pipes. As the name suggest, these are not man-made pipes, but natural pipes in the ground. The ripper shanks are put into the ground next to the pipes to loosen or fragment the rock, and tunnels are driven into the deepest parts of the volcanic pipe.

An open cut diamond mine
The current top five mining countries include: South Africa, Russia, Australia, Ukraine and Guinea.

The diamonds are not sorted out at the mine. Instead, huge rocks that are full of diamonds are brought out of the mine and moved to a screening plant for separation. To find one small diamond, often over two hundred tonnes of ore must be mined. Natural diamonds are truly rare.

Alluvial Mining method

The Alluvial mining method is done in riverbeds and on beaches. Walls are built to hold back the water and the sand on the river bank. When diamond mining is done on the beach, the sand is moved with a bulldozer until it unearths the level of earth where diamonds can be found.

As with pipe mining, the diamonds are not sorted here. Instead, the sand that contains the diamonds is bulldozed into trucks, and taken to screening plants for separation.

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