The big news in the diamond world this week is that De Beers is looking to sell the famed Kimberley Mine in South Africa.
The mine, also referred to as “The Big Hole”, is one of the most famous diamond mines in the world. The jaw-dropping measurements of the hole is that it has a circumference of 1.6 kilometers, a surface area of 42 acres and is 214 meters deep! Diamonds were first mined there in 1871 and over its first 40 years of existence, over 2700 kilograms of the rare stones were excavated.
Once above-ground diamond mining proved to be unsafe at that location, De Beers continued to mine the underground kimberlite pipes for their diamonds. In 2006, De Beers stopped all mining operations at the pit and started going through all the rock that had been previously excavated to find any diamonds that may have been missed. This previously recovered material also called “tailings” have proved to be quick lucrative for De Beers. In 2014 alone, they was able to uncover 722,000 carats of diamonds.
De Beers is looking to sell the mine quickly with interested parties needing to confirm their expressions of interest by May 29, 2014. They hope to have the entire sale completed within a couple of months.
The current timeline for the mine is that it can remain open until 2018 with the chance of the new buyer being able to extend its life until 2030. The on-site museum and tourist attractions owned by De Beers are not expected to be part of any possible deal.