Pioneering a DIAMOND Rich area || Diamond Prospecting
Diamond miners - seekers of clear gold
Yakutsk diamonds are a world famous brand. But the Republic of Sakha became famous for them relatively recently. Diamond mining in Russia began in the 50s of the last century, while the world's diamond mining chronicle is more than a thousand years old.
What is a diamond or adamant, as the stone was called in the old days, and what labor and scientific feats are capable of girls' best friends , we told in the previous article. And now let's talk about how diamonds are mined, how they get to us to become diamonds and scalpels, the basis of lasers and microchips. This is discussed below.
A little history
India, of course, became the ancestor of the diamond industry. In the 10th century, spices and jewelry sometimes fell into the harsh everyday life of medieval Europe, which were delivered by unhurried caravans from some mysterious southern country. Among the Indian curiosities sometimes came across a diamond. At that time it was not yet a diamond, the skill of cutting appeared much later, in the 15th century.
In the 18th century, the sparkling products of the Brazilian mines were delivered to the mountain. There were so many diamonds and of such high quality that it caused a 70% collapse in world prices. And in 1867, on the Orange River, an accidental find contributed to the outbreak of the South African diamond rush, and changed the course of history of an entire continent.
Diamond miners of the past were armed roughly like gold diggers - with a pick and a tray for washing the rock. Often they were the miners. Laundering gold in the river sands, adamants were periodically found. No one knew by what signs to look for these crystals, so the finds were rare, mostly random.
The opening of a diamond pipe in the South African town of Kimberley has taken the entire industry to a new level. Since then, the rock containing gems has been called kimberlite, and the primary deposits are called kimberlite pipes.
In the 1930s, the Government of the USSR set a task to bring the country out of the state of diamond dependence. At that time, jewelry and technical rough diamonds were imported from abroad, there was a sorely lack of it.
Exploration parties were sent to different regions of our country. Close attention was paid to Yakutia, from where, back in the 19th century, information about the finds of stones, similar to adamants, was received.
Success was not achieved immediately - the Second World War prevented. And only in 1955 a discovery was made, which made our country the leader of the world diamond mining. The famous encrypted telegram was sent to Moscow stating that there is excellent tobacco in the pipe of peace. Yakut diamonds began their triumphant march.
Into the Throat of the Earth
When adamant fever raged in South Africa, hardly anyone listened to the voice of local tribes. And they would have listened - maybe they would have discovered diamond-bearing deposits a century or two earlier ... In folklore, with an accuracy of hundreds of meters, a certain Throat of the Earth is indicated, in which the unfinished Song of the Earth is forever frozen. This place coincides with the giant Bolshaya Hole quarry, from where the history of kimberlites began.
Some diatremes are not limited to one channel. One of the most productive deposits in Yakutia, where Russian diamonds are mined, Udachninskoye, consists of two shafts, joining into a single diamondiferous basin.
The giant World has a modest offshoot - a small tube Sputnik. Where the ancient magma found its way to the surface of the earth, it burst out there, and this path was not necessarily direct.
Open-pit mining of gems - quarries - exactly repeat the outlines of the craters of ancient volcanoes. Stripping operations are carried out at the quarry - they remove waste rock that prevents it from reaching the ore.
The rocks are taken to dumps, and sometimes these dumps create a landscape of mining towns and villages, rising on the horizon like mountain ranges. Previously, the development was carried out manually, with a pick and a shovel, and the rock was taken out in wheelbarrows. Now the man has come to the rescue of heavy-duty mining equipment and the power of explosive technologies.
An ode to the mine surveyor
But, before the hundred-ton trucks move along the spiral route, surveyors should calculate its trajectory. The people of this profession are the personification of precision in mining. A surveyor must by nature have, let's say, 3D imagination.
Knowing only the approximate contour of the ore body, the surveyor calculates which layers of rock should be removed first and which ones should be left in order to make that very spiral road for heavy trucks on their basis. The situation in the mine is even more complicated.
Now the surveyor is armed with an electronic theodolite-tacheometer, and a whole package of specialized computer programs. But, despite this, he must walk every meter with his own feet, see with his own eyes. It depends on the mine surveyor how safe the work will be, because incorrectly set sides of a quarry lead to collapses, and often - to the death of people.
The mine surveyors are followed by teams of explosives, and only then - excavators and dump trucks.
When granite turns to glass
Diamond mining in Russia is carried out mainly in regions with permafrost. The world pole of cold is located in the Yakut Oymyakon. But the onslaught of machinery on rocks is so strong that even at minus 50 Celsius, granite under the teeth of an excavator bucket melts, turning into glass ...
The fleet of dump trucks traditionally consists of time-tested BelAZ trucks, in recent years they have been supplemented with overload trucks, up to 136 tons, Cat and Komatsu.
Measurement is what immediately catches your eye when you see a well-established work in your career. Dump trucks, without haste, descend to the lower horizons, stand in line to the excavator bucket, and, loaded with large pieces of rock, begin their leisurely way up, along a ten-kilometer serpentine, to the processing plant.
You can't talk about open pit mining - and forget about water. Ordinary water. She's in her career - everywhere. It flows down from the walls in thin streams, gathers into a bright green lake at the bottom, sometimes gushes with a fountain from the most unexpected places ...
If you give her free rein, then all human labor will go to the bottom in a matter of days. Such a sad fate befell the careers of Kazakhstan stopped in the 90s.
Only reaching extreme depths can stop mining. Where the pipe narrows so much that it is no longer possible to lay a route, and the way up becomes too long. Currently, the depths are considered to be 600-650 meters.
Then comes the stage of mine work. A mine is laid next to the quarry. The structure and life support system of the underground mine is very complex. The total length of all shafts, adits and drifts can reach hundreds of kilometers. In the relatively young Yakut mine Inter (Internatsionalny), the total length, only of the main lines, is more than 40 km.
The main technique in the mine is a mining harvester armed with a cutter-cutter. From there, the rock is transported to the conveyor belts going to the surface. Its further path also lies on the processing plant.
Symbol of enrichment - and technology of enrichment
A diamond is a symbol of enrichment. But, before you can get this very symbol, the ore containing it must be properly enriched.
The main stages here are no different from the processing of other minerals.
Regardless of whether we extract lead or diamonds, ore raw materials are always :
- sorted into fractions;
- separates minerals from waste.
In the diamond processing cycle, the most interesting unit is the radar. This is not a radio relay station. Radar - X-ray luminescent sorting. The method is based on the fact that under X-rays, adamant begins to glow. The glow is caught by a photocell - and a shot of air follows. The knocked down stones fall into the receiver.
Small, tTechnical crystals are taken out of stone dust in another way - they are glued onto a black oil film. Only a person is able to finally separate the required mineral from ordinary stones, so the final stage is manual sorting and expert judgment.
A feature of the Yakut deposits is a large percentage of black diamonds. The black diamond mined here is called Yakutite. Previously, such stones were called board, and were sent to waste. Now they have become fashionable and are appreciated in the jewelry industry.
We hope our article shed some light on the diamond question , and you learned a lot of new and interesting things about this truly gem!