Kimberley Mine - The Largest Hole Excavated By Hand

Kimberley mine - largest hole from above

'Kimberley Mine' is the largest hole excavated by hand and is located in Northern Cape, South Africa. This is an open-pit and underground mine which yielded nearly 2,720 Kgs of diamond!. This Mine is also called as 'The Big Hole', 'Groot Gat', and different other names.

About the Kimberley Mine - History


Kimberley Diamond Hole was opened in 1871 under the ownership of 'DeBeers' and carried on its operations smoothly. The place was once called as 'New Rush' and was later renamed as 'Kimberley'. The Big hole as you can see in the pictures was dug entirely by hand i.e with picks and shovels.

Nearly 50,000 miners have worked hard to dig this Gigantic hole which spans 463 meters across along with a depth of about 240 meters. The depth has been reduced to 215 meters because of debris and water. Therefore only 175 meters is visible. The surface area is about 17 hectares and has a perimeter of 1.6 kilometers.

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What is present status of Kimberley mine?


Kimberley Mine was closed on 14th August 1914. By that time - over 22 million tons of Earth had been excavated and nearly 2,720 kilograms of Diamond had been scavenged from it. In a span of 43 years, countless number of miners died due to unhygienic working conditions and scarcity of water along with inadequate fresh air.

Kimberley mine arial view
Image credits : Dheer

After closing down of Kimberley Mine, the entire area became a tourist spot. Old buildings and precious relics of Kimberley attracted tourists from all over the world. Therefore, DeBeers company cashed on it and invested 50 million dollars and opened a world-class tourism facility with the main attraction being the 'Mine Museum'. Now, 'Kimberley Big Hole' has become a tourist hotspot attracting visitors from around the World.

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