The Soviet Union hid the world's largest diamond mine, reserves enough for another 3,000 years

Diamond mine with huge reserves in Siberia, enough to supply humanity for another 3,000 years.

The Soviet Union hid the mine

The Taiga forest area, in Siberia, Russia has long been famous for its diamond mines with huge reserves, including the mine at the Popigaï crater with trillions of carats of diamonds, with the ability to mining 1,800kg of ore per year. The existence of this mine has been kept a secret for decades because it is hidden deep in the cold of the Taiga forest, with huge reserves that could ignite "an industrial revolution" around the world.

Picture 1 of The Soviet Union hid the world's largest diamond mine, reserves enough for another 3,000 years
Popigaï diamond mine from above. (Photo: NATGEO)

The actual Popigaï sediment was discovered in the early 1970s in a remote area of ​​eastern Siberia, 400 km from the nearest town of Khantiga and 2,000 km north of the capital Krasnoyarsk. During the war. Cold, this was immediately seen as a source of exploitation and strategic wealth of the Soviet Union, and its existence was a complete secret.

As revealed by Nikolai Pokhilenko (Director of the Sobolev Institute of Geology and Minerals in Novosibirsk), this mine is located in a crater with a diameter of hundreds of kilometers, formed after the collision of an asteroid with Earth at a distance from Earth. 35 million years ago.

The high temperature and high pressure from the impact instantly turned the graphite in the Siberian soil into tiny diamonds in an area up to 10km in radius from the point of fall. These "industrial" diamonds are typically 0.5 to 2mm in diameter, with a gray, blue, or yellow sheen.

Picture 2 of The Soviet Union hid the world's largest diamond mine, reserves enough for another 3,000 years
Russian diamonds are highly durable. (Photo: 13 Heures / France 2)

According to the institute's experts, the carat reserves of diamonds at the Popigaï mine are 110 times larger than the world's diamond reserves and are more than twice as durable as industrial diamonds. However, according to Mr. Pokhilenko, the Soviet Union at that time prioritized the construction of synthetic diamond factories to preserve the mine in secrecy.

In the economic and ideological turmoil following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in late 1991, the announcement of the mine's existence went largely unnoticed. This is also the main reason why the Popigaï mine was abandoned and forgotten for almost 30 years until the Sobolev Institute of Geology and Minerals found it again.

Reserve equivalent to 3,000 years of supply

Picture 3 of The Soviet Union hid the world's largest diamond mine, reserves enough for another 3,000 years
Sediment found at Popigaï mine. (Photo: sciencemall-usa.com).

The director of the Sobolev Institute emphasized that although only 0.3% of the Popigaï mine area has been mined, the amount of diamonds here has reached 147 billion carats. Meanwhile, the world's diamond reserves are estimated at 5 billion carats. The scientist also added that: "At the current rate of industrial diamond use, Popigaï's reserves correspond to 3,000 years of supply" and could lead to "an industrial revolution in the world." , especially in the construction of airplanes and automobiles.

Guennadi Nikitine, deputy director of the Yakoutnipromalmaz company in Yakutia (East Siberia) which specializes in the diamond industry, worries: "Popigaï crater could upset the situation in the diamond market. It is impossible to predict the price will come out. star". However, experts believe that exploration of the Popigaï reserves could be too expensive, as the mine is located in permafrost, far from any road or rail.

Picture 4 of The Soviet Union hid the world's largest diamond mine, reserves enough for another 3,000 years
Diamond after making. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain / AFP)

Nikolai Tutchkov, an expert at the Sobolev Institute, commented: "This diamond mine is very isolated, located almost 200km from the Arctic coast and more than 400km from the nearest town. However, exploration of the Popigaï mine can be done. combined with the extraction of other mineral deposits nearby, this will reduce costs."

Indeed, a large number of workers of about 800 people have been mobilized to exploit the mines day and night with high wages in Russia, up to 2,000 euros per month. However, they worked alternately and were given 15 days off due to the cold weather and the difficult exploitation. They had to work in windy conditions at -25°C. "We have to take 15 to 20 minutes off every hour to warm up because it's too cold here," said one worker .

The kimberlites found deep underground in the mines are then crushed and graded. The diamonds are then refined according to a secret formula and carefully graded. The most beautiful stones will be finished in Moscow.

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