The Big Hole, a Kimberley Diamond Mine
NIGHTMARE FOR A CLAUSTROPHOBIC; EXPLORING A SOUTH AFRICAN DIAMOND MINE
Imagine plunging 25,000 feet through
the darkness towards the center of the earth entombed in a small
fragile looking cage hardly big enough for a flock of canaries let
alone three humans clad in white helmets and blue overalls, with
Cesar Hoyas strapped to their waists.
Guaranteed to give
us 45 minutes of oxygen in the event of a calamity, the Cesar Hoya
(‘Help me to breath’) sets my blood pumping at an alarming rate.
It’s hardly comforting, in fact horrifying, that just another seven
kilometers down, say from here to the 401, would bring us to the
earth’s crust and from then on, molten lava roiling and popping in
a hellish fiery dance ready to turn us to instant ash.
When the elevator
finally comes to a stop we step onto solid ground in a cavern of
stone where only a few in the entire population of the world have
been. The distant roar of machines digging for diamonds echoes like
a throbbing war drum along silent stone passages.
Image copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on April 11th 2013.