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Navels of Earth. Giant Artificial Quarries of the Planet

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Quarries are huge man-made scars on the earth’s surface, that remind of his rough industrial activities. Resource extraction is the main reason for such a prodigious set of developments. Huge kimberlite pipes are developed for diamond mining, and quarries whose diameter can reach several kilometres, are used for gold, coal and other minerals mining. With the depletion of valuable mining sites, the quarries are coming to desolation and only a few get the new life. Some closed quarries are being converted into mining museums. Others become the location of beautiful botanical gardens. Some quarries enjoy the status of being attractions of world importance and are incredibely popular with tourists. This is exactly the kind of man-made geological objects what the next article in this series will talk about.

Big Hole Kimberley, South Africa

Kimberley city, located in southern Africa, is known to many travellers due to the diamond mine located within its territory. This mine was called Kimberley Hole or The Big Hole. The quarry is recognized as the largest hole excavated by hand. Miners dug the hole with picks and shovels without using any mechanisms. The development of the diamond mine began in 1866 and lasted until 1914. Miners arrived in their thousands, around 50000 of them were involved in the development process.

Big Hole Kimberley, South Africa The workers managed to mine more than 2700 kilograms of diamonds using hand tools only. It was in the Big Hole that the world famous diamonds ‘Tiffany’, ‘De Beers’ and ‘Porter Rhodes’ had been found. The Kimberley Hole is 1,6 km in diameter. It was excavated to a depth of 240 metres. At the bottom of the quarry is now a lake, 40 meters in depth which gives the quarry even a more breathtaking view. Although mining operations were completed in 1914, diamond output in Kimberley continued up to 2005. Nearby the quarry some large mines 1000 metres in depth have been opened. The De Beers company that has owned the quarry decided to convert it into a tourist attraction. Nowadays, the most interesting Kimberley Mine Museum with a viewing platform and lots of walking areas is open to public. Next - Diavik Mine

Diavik Mine, Canada

Diavik Mine, Canada The Diavik Quarry is located on islands near the Great Slave Lake, and is one of the youngest mines in the world. It is used for diamond mining since the first diamonds were discovered on the islands during the study in 1992. The quarry has its own industrial infrastructure which has developed since 2001. The actual diamond mining is conducted since 2003. According to experts, the total production of the mine will take 16 to 22 years. Complete article

Mir Diamond Pipe, Russia

Mir Diamond Pipe, Russia The huge kimberlite diamond pipe ‘Peace’ (‘Mir’ in Russian), also called the Mirny Mine, is located on the outskirts of Mirny town in Russia. The development of the mine started in 1955 in the area of significant diamond deposits. The mine is 525 meters deep and has a diameter of 1200 meters. Upon reaching the critical level of depth, mining work was continued by underground methods. Pit mining ceased here in 2001, since 2009 extraction works are lead deep in mines only. Complete article

Chuquicamata, Chile

Chuquicamata, Chile Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine, is located in Chile.The Chuquicamata mine has been developed in the Andes at an altitude of 2849 meters above sea level. The unique mine is owned and operated by the Chilean national copper corporation, which has been remaining the leading copper producer for many years. Its scale is simply amazing. The diameter of the Chuquicamata’s crater is 4300 meters in its widest spot and around 3000 meters in the narrowest one. The pit is 850 meters deep. Its development began almost one hundred years ago, in 1915. Complete article

Big Pit, UK

Big Pit, UK The most interesting quarry, from the tourist point of view, is located in Grear Britain, South Wales. Big Pit – a huge quarry – is a result of extensive developments in coal production. By the year 1980 the field has run out and was closed. Already three years later, it was converted into amazing National Coal Museum. Complete article

Bingham Canyon Mine, USA

Bingham Canyon Mine, USA Among the largest copper quarries of the planet. the Bingham Canyon Mine is worth mentioning. It is located in Utah, in the western United States. A large deposit of copper was discovered in these places in the middle of the 19 century. In 1863 an active development of mine began, it has been going on for over 150 years. The Bingham Canyon is the largest man-made excavation in the world. It is 1200 meters deep, 4000 meters in diameter in its widest part and covering 7,7 square kilometers. Complete article

Quarry Lucky, Russia

Quarry Lucky, Russia The Udachnaya kimberlite pipe is located on the territory of Russia in northern Yakutia. The opening of the mine was held in 1955. The nearby town of Udachny is named for the deposit. The results of the pit development exceeded the wildest expectations of project organizers. The rich deposit has significantly replenished the Russian Diamond Fund. The Udachnaya mine is an unparralleled one in terms of extracted raw materials. Complete article

Grasberg Mine, Indonesia

Grasberg Mine, Indonesia There is a unique massive quarry in Indonesia too. The Grasberg Mine is one of the largest gold, silver and copper reserves, located near Puncak Jaya mountain range. The mine employes 19500 people and remains the world leader in output of copper, gold and silver. Complete article

Escondida, Chile

Escondida, Chile The Escondida quarry, located in the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile, is a birthplace of huge deposits of copper, which were discovered here in 1990. It is a complex of two quarries, developed at an altitude of 3000 meters above sea level. In less than 30 years the quarry has grown to impressive proportions. In 2011 Escondida became the world’s largest copper-producing mine, in 2007 more than 1.5 million tons of the precious metal were recovered. Complete article

Quarry Korkino, Russia

Quarry Korkino, Russia The Korkino quarry, located in a small town of the same name in Russia, is the deepest man-made pit coal in Europe. It is 1500 meters in diameter and 500 meters deep. The exploitation of the deposit started in 1931 when the simplest equipment was used. Only with time, industrialists have introduced explosives, which significantly increased coal production. Nowadays, the most advanced equipment is operated in the mine. Complete article

Sibai Quarry, Russia

Sibai Quarry, Russia In the republic of Bashkortostan the Sibai copper mine is located. The mine is unique in size, it is one of the world’s leaders in mining industry. The quarry is almost 2000 meters wide and 500 meters deep. Its origin is very interesting and dates back more than 100 years ago. Complete article

Quarry Ruskeala, Russia

Quarry Ruskeala, Russia Ruskeala marble canyon is a tourist complex, located in the Republic of Karelia in Russia. It is truly one of the greatest natural attractions in the world. The first quarries appeared in this area in 18th century, during the reign of Russian Empress Catherine II. A significant part of the quarry has been excavated by hand. The quarry extends from north to south for about 460 meters, its average width is 100 meters and some parts have a depth of 50 meters. Complete article

Toquepala Mine, Peru

Toquepala Mine, Peru The Toquepala copper mine, located in Peru, is also among the prominent man-made quarries on the planet. Its development started in 1960. Its depth has long exceeded 500 meters, the diameter of the crater is about 2500 meters. Originally, the mine was developed for copper production. Later, a number of mineral resources were found in the ore. The pit mine produces not only copper, but molybdenum, silver and rhenium. Complete article

Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada

Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada Canada remains the world’s richest industrial country. The Ekati kimberlite pipe located on its territory confirmes that. Mining development in the north-west area of Canada began in 1998 after the discovery of large diamond deposits. The first to declare the existence of diamond deposits were Stewart Blusson and Chuck Fipke. In 1991 they sold a significant part of the field to a large industrial organization BHP billiton Diamonds Inc. Complete article
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