Above: The Cullinan Diamond Mine (operated by Petra Diamonds) on the outskirts of Pretoria (Tshwane). It has been several decades since the last major diamond mine discovery, and the industry and diamond market are looking for additional natural diamond production sites in the future.
“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one” – Chinese proverb
South Africa is rich in minerals and precious metals, known for the high production yield of gold, coal, platinum and diamonds – to name a few. As one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds, it is important to invest in upskilling geologists, explorationists and mining experts in the appropriate exploration and mining methods, and geophysical techniques that could lead to further economic discoveries of diamond deposits, and equally to be able to apply the remarkable range of new technologies and processes available for the improved efficiencies of diamond exploitation and recoveries.
A Diamond Exploration and their Primary and Secondary Sources short course was recently presented by Dr Mike de Wit and Dr John Bristow, both leading geologists in the field of diamond mining. The internationally recognised course, presented through Enterprises University of Pretoria, is a collaborative initiative co-sponsored by Petra Diamonds, Consulmet and the Geological Society of South Africa*.
Presented by a team of prominent international experts in diamond exploration and evaluation methods, the course provided the experienced delegates with a unique opportunity and exposure to the latest developments in diamond exploration, geophysics, structural studies, kimberlite petrology and mineralogy, diamond formation and mantle indicator and fine diamond applications. The course covered the full ambit of primary (kimberlites and lamproites) and secondary (land and marine based alluvial deposits) diamond deposits, including the evaluation, mining and exploitation of these deposits, as well as marketing and sales of rough diamonds.
With no similar course or training offered in Africa or internationally, the course takes delegates on an insightful journey from exploration through to mining and to the sale of the final product. This unique course covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of the business with latest technological, research and development findings. An important, and valuable practical component of the course, included a tour to the Cullinan Diamond Mine which has over the past seven years been fully rebuilt and modernised into one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated diamond mines at a cost of about $612 million.
The experience and opportunity to visit Petra Diamonds’ world-class operation (which produced the world’s largest gemstone, the 3 106 carat Cullinan diamond, and many other exceptional white and blue stones) was an added highlight of the course.
*Additional support was also received from Mining Weekly, the MSA Group, the Society of Economic Geologists, De Beers and the Sheahan Diamond Newsletter out of Canada.