Second largest excavated hole in the world
In Eastern Siberia in the town of Mirniy is a open pit diamond mine that closed down in 2011. The mine itself is 525 meters (1,722 ft) deep (4th in the world) and has a diameter of 1,200 m (3,900 ft), and is the second largest excavated hole in the world, after Bingham Canyon Mine. Stalin ordered construction of the mine to satisfy the Soviet Union’s need for industrial-grade diamonds after the war.
The largest diamond found was 342.5 carats.
In the 1960s the mine was producing 10,000,000 carats of diamond per year, of which a relatively high fraction were of gem quality.The upper layers of the mine had very high diamond content of 4 carats per tonne of ore, with the relatively high ratio of gems to industrial stones. The largest diamond of the mine was found on 23 December 1980; it weighed 342.5 carats and was named “26th Congress of the CPSU“.
De Beers gets duped.
The De Beers company was worried by the rapid development of the Mir mine. De Beers controlled most of the distribution of the world’s diamonds at the time. De Beers was forced to buy Russian diamonds to control market prices. It was because of this they wanted to know as much as possible about it. De Beers made a request to the Russian government for permission to visit the Mir mine. Permission was granted under the conditions that Russian experts would be able to visit the De Beers diamond mines in South Africa. When Philip Oppenheimer and chief geologist Barry Hawthorne finally arrived in Moscow in 1976 they were intentionally delayed. A series meetings and lavish banquets with Soviet geologists, mineralogists, engineers and mine managers where held. It wasn’t until their visas were about to expire that they finally got to visit the mine. It was time enough to get details like the fact the Russians weren’t using water during the ore processing at all. This astonished De Beers! The reason for this was that water would freeze most of the year. They used dry crushing instead.
Airspace above the mine is off-limits to helicopters
The life of the mine lasted 44 years with it being permanently being shut down in 2011. Since it’s been shut down the airspace above the mine is off-limits to helicopters, it was claimed that “a few accidents occurred when they were ‘sucked in’ by downward air flow”. But no supporting evidence has been found to substantiate this claim.
The city will house up to 100,000 people
Then in April of the same year Nikolay Lyvtomsky a Russian architect based in Moscow along with his firm Ab Elis proposed an Eco City where the Mir Diamond mine once was. It seems the region has experienced environmental problems due to the excavation of the “Mir” quarry. The problems include the threat of landslides and the flooding with ground water. His proposal is to create a new type of urban development using the excavation pit at the quarry site to build what he calls “Eco City 2020”. He wants to turn the giant crater into a”Eco-City.”The concept is to build a garden city that will attract Russian residents as well as international tourists to Eastern Siberia. The domed city will be ventilated naturally, using the same ideas that comes from a traditional Russian cellar. The architects suggest that their “garden city” will become the landmark of the Eastern Siberia. The city itself will be able to house about 100,000 people (two and a half times the current population of Mirniy). The entire city will cover 2 million square meters. According to Russian news, this project is more speculation than reality, but it certainly provides for some bang up visuals.