The Big Hole Kimberley. Open Mine. Kimberley Mine or Tim Kuilmine (Afrikaans: Groot Gat) is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa. And claimed to be the largest hole excavated by hand, although this claim is disputed.
A trip to the Northern Cape Province would be incomplete without a detour to include the Big Hole in Kimberley. It is an opportunity not to be missed. What began as a flat-topped hill is today a gaping hole measuring 215 metres deep with a surface area of 17 hectares and a perimeter of 1.6 kilometres.
What makes Kimberley’s Big Hole that much more interesting is that it is an entirely man-made structure. The largest hand-dug excavation in the world.
It all began as far back as 1866 when a man called Erasmus Jacobs found what he took for a shiny pebble on the Orange River banks. To cut a long story short, it was later sold in London, after it was determined to be a 21.25 carat diamond, for £500. After a further two diamonds were found in the area, a diamond rush ensued and miners arrived in their thousands. The hill disappeared in a flurry of prospection due to picks and shovels yielded 2 722 kilograms of diamonds.
The underground mine at Kimberley reaches a depth of 1097 meters. Underground operations at the Kimberley mines have only recently closed, and the Big Hole has had a massive upgrade to turn it into a tourist experience.
Visitors can go underground in a recreation of a mine shaft of the period, furthermore, watch a film that introduces one to diamonds in Kimberley. Visit an exhibition center. Take in a diamond display, the new viewing platform that allows one to get a bird’s eye view of the Big Hole from above. Most of all visit the Old Town to see Kimberley in its heyday.
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