Sunday, December 26, 2010
Kimberley's Big Hole Diamond Mine


If you travel to Kimberley you can't help but see The Big Hole. It is a great black pit that cuts through the rocky diamond-studded mantle of Africa. The Big Hole at 215 metres deep is the largest man made hole in existence.

The first diamond discovered in South Africa in 1869 was found in the walls of a farmhouse in nearby Bultfontein. Needless to say the house soon bit the dust and the diamond rush was on. Just over a year later, diamonds were discovered in what is now Kimberley and the excavation of the Big Hole was underway.

A representation of all the diamonds mined from the Big Hole during its lifetime
 At times there were 30,000 men working in the Kimberley Mine, each with a small staked out claim linked to the surface by a spider web of cables and ropes. As the hole got deeper the conditions became more chaotic. It seemed that there was a limitless supply of diamonds. Affluent diamond-diggers in a flamboyant display of wealth lit their cigars with bank notes and their lady friends bathed in champagne and enjoyed the pleasures of wealth. Today travel to Kimberley is an experience in historical and mineral exploration combined.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Sunday, 26th December, 2010


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