Big Hole, Kimberley; the original diamond mine in South Africa.
The name Kimberley has been associated with the magic of diamonds since these mysterious, shiny "pebbles," first appeared in the Northern Cape region of South Africa in the mid-19th century.
The Eureka, the first diamond found in South Africa, was discovered less than 30 miles away and within a few years, the mining town of Kimberley had become the centre of Africa's first diamond "rush."
The largest rough diamond recovered here was a 93-carat stone that produced a 45 carat gem. Our own full scale mining operations ended here in the last century, however we continue to be active at Kimberley, recovering diamonds and helping to run The Big Hole, a world class tourism facility we developed.
Today, more than 100 years after it was first mined, we are still recovering diamonds from Kimberley's tailings dumps. We expect our diamond recovery operations to continue through 2023.
In partnership with the Northern Cape provincial government and the Sol Plaatje municipality, we continue to explore opportunities to improve the region and alleviate poverty through job creation.
- 1871 - Diamonds are first mined in Kimberley
- 1888- De Beers Consolidated Mines is formed to mine the area's five kimberlite pipes
- 1900s - Geologists in Kimberley's underground operations first recognise the volcanic origins of kimberlite
- 1914 - The original Kimberley mine closes
- 1995 - Our underground mining operations close
- 2002 - We invest R50 million in the Big Hole tourism project to help create a legacy of job creation and business opportunities
- 2004 - New refinements in diamond recovery make retreatment of Kimberley ore dumps economically viable. We open a combined treatment plant (CTP) extending the life of the operation
- 2006 -The Big Hole opens as a major tourism facility providing more than 300 local jobs and business opportunities for local small and medium sized enterprises
- 2007 - Petra Diamonds buys our underground mining operations
We are continuing to recover diamonds from the tailings dumps in Kimberley processing plant