The huge deep pit dented straight down from the surface and continuously extended into the center of the earth. The black and yellow land was devastated. The Mirny diamond mine in Russia looked like a “scar” left by humans to the earth.
The Mirny Diamond Mine is located in the city of Mirny in eastern Siberia, Russia. It produces 23% of the world’s diamonds. The value is estimated to be as high as 13 billion pounds (about 111.2 billion yuan), which is called “the most valuable pothole in the world.” At the same time, it is also the world’s deepest diamond pit and the second largest artificially excavated giant pit, second only to the Bingham Canyon copper mine in the United States, which has been mined for more than 100 years.
Regrettably, the vast project and huge wealth did not drive this place to prosperity. On the contrary, due to the bad weather and lack of materials, the local residents all “begged with diamonds.” The existence of the mine, along with the city of Mirny, has long been a mystery in Russia.
Magical cave magnetic field beautiful snowfield scenery
The Mirny Diamond Mine is an extremely huge spiral-shaped cave with an entrance of 1,200 meters in diameter and a depth of about 525 meters, which is equivalent to a height of 161 stories. A Blaze mine truck with a payload of 200 to 220 tons, it takes 2 hours to drive from the ground to the bottom of the cave. Compared with this huge mine, Blaze, as one of the largest trucks in the world, is nothing more than a small black spot during driving, just like an ant; the surrounding houses look indescribable in front of this abyss, as if instantaneously. Will be absorbed into it.
Looking down from the air, the entire mine pit slowly sinks into the deepest part of the earth like a whirlpool. The black and yellow desolate soil extends infinitely toward the center of the earth. You can’t see the bottom at a glance, staring carefully, like a monster with a big mouth of blood. Swallowing you in your belly is terrifying. If you walk in and watch, the funnel-like cave is also like a natural stone terrace, surrounded layer by layer, like the annual rings of ancient trees. Watching the mine carts loaded with diamonds slowly pass by, while feeling the pride of diamond resources, I can’t help but sigh for the “supernatural workmanship” of mankind.
The Mirny pit is large and deep, making the magnetic field inside the pit and the air above the surface form a strong air current. If a small aircraft with too light mass, especially a helicopter flies over a mine pit, the buoyancy generated by the propeller will suddenly weaken. The strong airflow disturbance directly affects the flying height of the helicopter, and it is extremely dangerous to accidentally crash. Moreover, when flying at low altitudes, it is inherently more susceptible to the surrounding complex environment. This is also the reason why helicopters are likely to collide with mountains and crash when entering special terrain such as canyons or waterfalls. In Russia’s history of air crashes, more than half of all flight accidents have occurred on small aircraft such as helicopters. In addition, the Mirny Diamond Mine is located in the hinterland of Siberia, close to the Arctic Circle. The winter is as long as 7 months each year. The extreme weather of wind and snow also greatly increases the risk of low-altitude flights. Therefore, for safety reasons, the area above the Mirny mine pit seemed to be acquiesced by the pilots and became a no-fly zone.
The unique terrain makes the Mirnet Mine look a bit gloomy. The icy, snowy, desolate and primitive land seems to be synonymous here. Coupled with the rumors that “it will suck airplanes into the ground”, some people even call it the “gate of hell”. However, the sparsely populated and beautiful scenery of the North has added a sense of peace and tranquility to the Mirnet Mine: the snow-capped mountains stretch endlessly, the coniferous forests are lush, and the dense forests are unique to the North. The bears, deer and wolves, as well as the precious Siberian tiger, run freely and thrive here. When the weather is clear, the gurgling water flows like a soft ribbon, flowing through the picturesque valley, and the sun shines on the water like dots of golden light. The local people believe that diamonds appeared on this land because they fell from the frozen hands of a god, and it was a precious treasure that the gods unwittingly bestowed on this land.
A “cornucopia” that can make money. A top-secret project in the former Soviet Union
So, how was the Mirnet mine discovered? This dates back to the 1950s.
In 1955, in the western part of Yakutia in Siberia, beside the Ileliakh River, which was later the city of Mirny, three former Soviet geologists discovered a Kimberlite-a kind of phlogopite Alkaline ultrabasic rock composed of magnesia garnet, olivine and other minerals, formerly known as breccia mica peridotite. This is not an ordinary stone, but one of the most important igneous rocks producing diamonds, named after it was discovered in Kimberley, South Africa in 1887. Simply put, this means that this place is the original deposit of diamonds, which contains rich diamond resources. The geologists were shocked and excited. After detailed discussions and rigorous inspections, they selected Yuri Habadin as their representative and sent an encrypted telegram to Moscow, which read: “We have ignited the road to peace, too. Bravo!”
Far away from the pollution of urban industrialization, the cold Siberian snow principle is a paradise for animals. The robust Siberian tiger runs fast in the forest, the brown bear catches fish from the ice water as its delicious meal, and the yaks and seagulls at the foot of the mountain are so leisurely and free. .
Two years later, the three geologists who inspected together were awarded the “Lenin Award”, “Outstanding Contribution Award” and “Glorious Medal” to commend their outstanding contributions. At the time, the Soviet leader Khrushchev excitedly announced at the award ceremony: After many failed expeditions from 1940 to 1950, the Soviet Union finally found a huge diamond mine in Siberia, which is estimated to account for more than 23% of the world’s reserves.
Then, a huge mining project kicked off…
In 1958, Khrushchev formally ordered diamond mining. Since the telegram sent by geologists to Moscow called it the “Road to Peace”, the mining farm is also called the “Peace Mine”.
However, mining work is not easy. The hard frozen terrain of Siberia makes working on the mine extremely difficult. Even if the jet engine is started to try to melt it, it may not be successful, and explosives must even be used.
Even so, in the face of such a “cornucopia” that can make money, no matter how big the difficulty is, it can be overcome. With the advancement of the mining industry, the mine is digging bigger and deeper, and along with its development, there are also the settlements of workers in the surrounding mines. In 1959, the Soviet government established the city of Mirny in the region.
For the next 30 years, mining at the Mirny mine has not stopped, and heavy machinery transports ore back and forth along the spiral road every day. According to statistics, for 30 years, the mine has maintained an annual diamond output of 10 million carats, of which gem-grade accounted for about 20%. The largest single diamond was unearthed in 1980, weighing 342.5 carats (68.5 grams, and the public price of 50 million US dollars. ). It wasn’t until 1990, when the depth was 340 meters, that the annual output was reduced to 2 million carats. With the development of the Mirnet diamond mine, South Africa’s De Beers Diamond Company was once threatened, which produced most of the world’s diamonds at that time.
In the former Soviet Union, the government regarded the use of the Mirny mine as top secret. According to a report by the BBC: “No outsiders are allowed to enter Mirny without special permission. The authorities are quite skeptical of any foreigners.”
Numerous precious diamonds were born from here and turned into huge wealth and filled the national treasury. . No one knows what scientific research projects the money was used for, or what new weapons they bought. According to legend, the main income from mining at that time provided the vast majority of military expenditures for the Cold War in the former Soviet Union. Or perhaps, it is precisely because of the long-term stable high yield and continuous wealth of the Mirny mine that helped the Soviet Union to become a superpower against the United States even after the devastation of World War II.
At the end of the last century, due to the gradual decline in diamond production, the government decided to suspend mining before the Soviet Union was about to fall apart. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Mirny diamond mine was operated by Alrosa, a diamond mining company controlled by the Russian state. In the following ten years, the news of the closure of the Mirnet mine was reported twice, but some people soon expressed doubts: the city of Mirny, where the mine is located, decided to expand the airport in 2002. At this time, Russia’s external trade blockade, import and export restrictions, internal economic depression, and per capita income plummet, can be described as “internal and external troubles.” In this critical period, the government will even consider expanding the airport in the hinterland of Siberia (4000 kilometers away from Moscow), which has a population of only 38,000 in Mirnyi? There seems to be only one reason-Russia, which is short of money, urgently needs a lot of funds, and the Mirny diamond mine is still mining.
The extreme contrast between the rich and the poor, local residents “begging with diamonds”
Regardless of whether the question is established or not, it is certain that the city of Mirny was established and developed because of the rich wealth of the Mirny mine and is known as the “Diamond Capital” of Russia.
Most of the people living in the city of Mirnet are mining and working for the Alrosa Company, and countless diamonds are produced in carts, but the lack of living materials makes the local residents still in a dilemma of extreme poverty.
Mirny is a single-enterprise city. Mining is the source of its birth and the only industry. The local residents are mostly diamond miners and their families. However, despite the diamonds on the ground, the residents here are not rich.
”When I first moved here, I thought I would be surrounded by diamonds.” said a housewife who married from Yakutsk to Mirny. In fact, all diamonds are owned by the state, and mining is strictly controlled. The extracted diamonds are prohibited from being brought out of the mine. Moreover, only a small number of people in the leadership class are truly wealthy and have a good life.
Therefore, although the city of Milne has rich diamond resources, it is a mess. In the modern society of the 21st century, the backwardness of infrastructure here is simply shocking. The traffic is extremely inconvenient, which makes it even more closed than Yakutsk and Magadan in Siberia: Yakutsk is currently open by rail, and Magadan has at least the M56 federal road and port, and Mirny is not connected to the federal road. There is still 1,200 kilometers away from the nearest railway station, and the living expenses of tens of thousands of people can only rely on airport transfers, not to mention telephone communication and network signal coverage. It can be said that travel is all by walking, communication is all by roaring, the ground is covered with diamonds, and nothing else.
In addition, because it is located in the Arctic Circle, the climate here is very cold, with long winters and short summers. The average temperature is minus 40°C and the lowest can reach minus 60°C. Crops cannot grow at all. Therefore, fruits and vegetables are in short supply in the local area. Therefore, compared to the diamonds that can be seen every day, the Milners crave more fresh food.
In 2004, the Russian government finally decided to close the Mirny mine. At this point, the 46-year-old diamond mine was officially shut down, leaving only a huge “wound” deep on the surface. Someone once proposed to fill the pit, but the huge volume that has been dug for nearly half a century would be completely filled. The manpower and material resources required are simply prohibitive. Therefore, the astronomical “filling fee” made the Russian government give up. This suggestion. Some people have also proposed to use the mine pit and develop it into a tourist attraction. However, Mirnet’s extremely unfriendly geographical environment once again persuades people to leave. Diamonds are no longer worthwhile here. Who wants to face the severe cold of the Arctic Circle and visit a “pit” from afar?
The future of Mirny is unknown. But no matter what, along the way, it has also created its own wonderful story. The secret of the world’s deepest diamond mine is still waiting for more people to come and explore…