Image from page 107 of "Our holiday in Africa" (1912)
Title: Our holiday in Africa
Subjects: Wheeler, W. W. (William Webb), b. 1854
Publisher: [St. Joseph, MO : Press of Combe Printing]
Contributing Library: The Library of Congress
Digitizing Sponsor: Sloan Foundation
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DeBeers company. The value of diamonds stead-ily advanced until 1907, when the financial troubles arose in theUnited States, which caused much falling off in demand fordiamonds. As the DeBeers company now owns all five ofthese mines, they work only as many as the market justifies,aiming to keep up the price by keeping down the production,as they produce three-fourths of the worlds output of dia-monds. However, the Premier Diamond Mine, near Pretoria,may have some important bearing on the diamond supply inthe future, and the DeBeers company do not own the Premier. After a poor bed and a poorer breakfast at the QueensHotel, we went to the office of the DeBeers company for apermit to visit their Kimberly Diamond Mine. It was cheer-fully granted when we explained to the obliging secretarythat we were simply untitled Americans doing Africa, and didnot wish to return without seeing the greatest diamond minein the world. Armed with our permit we hastened to the Kim- 103 OUR HOLIDAY IX AFRICA
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KIMBERLY berly mine and were soon under the direction of a most politeand educated guide. First we went to the old or surface mine.It is called a pipe. that is to say, a circle four hundred andfifty feet in diameter, which stands in a perpendicular positionand goes straight down into the earth to an untold depth.This pipe is filled with soft blue rock, called by the minersthe blue, and this is the rock that contains the diamonds.All the great machinery of this mine is simply to get the dia-monds separated from the blue rock. First they worked openfrom the surface, but the sides are so soft that they continuallycaved in on the works, until it was impractical to work longerfrom the surface. Then the miners went back a quarter of amile and sunk a shaft about one thousand feet and drove alateral tunnel into the l)lue and at present thev are miningabout six hundred feet below the surface. As we stood beside the elevator which brings the blue tothe surface we noticed that there were two lar
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