Mir Diamond Mine The Siberian Giant
The Mir mine (also called Mirny) was an open-pit diamond mine, now inactive, located in Mirny, Eastern Siberia, in Russia. It is the second largest excavated hole in the world, surpassed only by the Bingham Copper Mine in Utah.
Diamond-bearing kimberlites were discovered at Mir in 1955 by Soviet geologists. Development started in 1957, under extreme weather conditions. In the 1960s, the mine was producing 10,000,000 carats of diamond per year, of which a relatively high fraction (20%) were of gem quality, according to Abazia.com.
In the 1970s construction of a network of tunnels for underground diamond recovery began. By 1999, the project operated exclusively as an underground mine.
Mir’s surface operation lasted 44 years, finally closing in June 2001. The mine was permanently closed in 2004.