Russia has declassified a huge deposit of unique super hard diamonds that dwarf the global reserves of the precious stone and can meet the worldwide demand for another 3,000 years.
The deposit, located in an asteroid crater 120 km in diameter, has been kept under wraps for nearly four decades as the Soviet Union mined enough diamonds elsewhere and also produced synthetic diamonds.
The melt rocks at the Popigai crater in Eastern Siberia contain “trillions of carats,” which is ten times more than the combined global reserves of diamonds, claimed Russian scientists from the Novosibirsk Institute of Geology and Mineralogy.
However, diamond cutters and dealers across the world can heave a sigh of relief: the so-called impact diamonds have no value as jewellery. But they are “twice as hard” as usual technical diamonds, which makes them ideal for industrial use. While impact diamonds have been found elsewhere in the world, no other deposit is suitable for commercial mining. The Popigai diamonds formed when a 7-km-wide asteroid rammed into a graphite site some 35 million years ago.
They were discovered in the mid-1960s, but the Soviet leadership mothballed the deposit opting in favour of producing synthetic diamonds.
Russian authorities have decided that time has now come to mine the superior diamonds.
“The impact diamonds can shake up the global market of industrial diamonds,” said Academician Nikolai Pokhilenko of the Novosibirsk Geology Institute. “They can replace synthetic diamonds in some areas, for example, in gem stone cutting, in the manufacture of turbines and precision parts for aircraft, in precision engineering, in the production of composite materials, such as wear-resistant bearings.”
This article has been corrected for some editing errors.