Diamonds in the desert

Another human settlement in this hostile ecosystem has to do with its mineral resources: from gold to diamonds, from oil to many minerals.
As early as the Ptolemaic era in ancient Egypt, the slaves toiled all through their lives to extract gold from quartz using primitive stone tools. Even now, a large part of the Namibian and South-African desert is exploited for its diamonds. Evidence of this activity is the old mining village of Kolmanskop, now a real ghost town neighbouring on this forbidden town. It was founded around 1920 after finding diamonds in the area, it quickly expanded into a local work and residential centre and was completely deserted by 1956. Today the sand has invaded some of the houses, getting in through the windows, blocking the doors and making the roofs cave in, and only a few houses are in a good state of repair and perfectly furnished, to tell how man lived there.
South-Africa is the most important diamond producer in Africa. In this area, diamonds are mainly contained in igneous rocks, such as kimberlite vents, which were first discovered in 1869. The biggest diamond ever found, the Cullinan (3,106 carats), and many other extremely valuable gems are from South-Africa. For more information on oil, see the specific section.

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From the Multimedia section

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    ecosystems

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    African deserts and their dunes

    Look

    ecosystems

    Bedouin of the Egyptian desert

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Coastal and cold deserts in the world

    Look

    earth

    Desert

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    Kolmanskop

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    Adjusting to life in the desert

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  • ecosystems

    African deserts and their dunes

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Facts