How Are Diamonds Mined?

diamonds-mined Credit: Jared Tarbell/CC-BY 2.0

A common process for mining diamonds is to remove and process kimberlite ore. Kimberlite ore can be found in underground mines and open pits and often contains a small amount of diamonds that must be separated from the ore. The process of mining can require several months or longer, depending on the size of the mine.

  1. Remove the ore

    Diamonds are typically found in a type of ore that is called kimberlite that is located by taking samples from the region being mined. If diamond-containing rocks are present, mining can take place. The ore can be taken from open mines both above-ground and underground mines.

  2. Process the ore

    At the processing facility, the company separates the ore from the diamonds by crushing the ore. After crushing the ore, the mixture is milled to remove any water-soluble materials in the ore. The mixture is then washed and processed to identify the ore that contains diamonds. A density separator or grease belt can be used to identify raw diamonds. X-rays have also been used to identify diamonds in kimberlite and other rocks.

  3. Polish the diamonds

    After being removed from the ore, the diamonds are polished and cut for use in jewelry and other items.