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What Is Marine Diamond Mining?

by AaronAhmadi   June 15, 2012 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 44,201
When you think of the words "mining" and "treasure" the first images that are swirling through your head are probably coal-covered faces, pickaxes, and shiny rocks plastered on the walls of dark caves. You may also be imaging a toothless guy running out of a cave exclaiming "I dun found a nugget!" – and heck, sometimes that may even happen, but the real adventure lies in marine diamond mining. Thankfully, SPIKE's latest original series, Diamond Divers, will shine a light on this topic, but let's take a look at what marine diamond mining is really all about:

Duh, there's diving involved

No mine carts, no pickaxes, no cluster phobia to worry about here – but you may have to take a little dip into the ocean. And when I say ocean, I mean deep, deep down all the way to the ocean floor (and everyone knows how strange the creatures are down there). Maybe there's something wrong with the hydraulic pump that's sucking in the sea bed deposits and you need to check it out, or maybe you just feel like showing everyone how awesome your diving skills are, but either way you must be a professional diver.

Photo: Sami Sarkis/Getty Images

Huge toys (machines) are still needed

As cool as it is just to be sailing out in the open sea and wearing an eye patch, that's not quite enough in terms of equipment. One of the most common ways to mine for diamonds in the ocean is to use a hydraulic suction system: basically you're sticking a steel nozzle into the seabed that will suck the gravel out of a potentially diamond-rich area. Aboard the ship, this suction system will help you sift through the gravel and scoop out any potentially precious diamonds. Nothing like harvesting gravel for goodies.

Photo: Richard du Toit/Getty Images

It's tremendously dangerous

First off, you'll need legal permission to mine where you plan to mine, which may not seem like such a big deal, but don't forget that you'll be in the ocean of all places. When you're in the ocean there are oh so many things that could possibly go wrong: armed pirates may pay a visit, man-eating sharks could swing by just in time for lunch, sea storms could form, and plenty of other things that would make any sailor cringe. Even worse, if your ship's got major issues for any reason, you can't just pull over to the curb and flip on the hazard switch – the clock is ticking at that point. With a big payoff comes big risks.

Photo: Reinhard Dirscherl/Getty Images

To really understand what an epic sea quest for diamonds really means, tune in to Diamond Divers premiering on SPIKE on June 20 at 10/9c.


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