Diamond Mining for Dummies

by on May 31st, 2011

Pork knockers once referred to miners who would pack a shovel or spade and set off into the wilderness for months on end, looking for that elusive diamond in the rough. Food would mainly comprise of salted pork leading to the name – pork knocker. The original bunch pork-knockers are now a dying breed. They’ve been replaced by a new generation who now rely on technological advances to get the job done. Don’t lost hope yet. 6 simple steps stand between you and more riches than you could ever imagine.

Step 1: Pick a Spot

This is the make or break moment for most diamond miners. Choose a wrong spot and you’re out of business. Diamonds are formed by high pressure acting on carbon over millions of years. For this reason, they’re usually found deep under the surface of the earth. Erupting volcanoes are good at spewing out diamonds but have been known to melt them into graphite in the process. Rivers are troublemakers as well. They erode rocks and deposit diamonds along their banks. Isolated forests along the banks of the Essequibo river are the best for diamond mining in Guyana. It means no one’s ever been there before and no one’s ever going to drop by unannounced, asking for your permit.

Step 2: Clear Everything and Start Digging

Rainforests, as can be expected are not ideal especially when they’re seated right over your mine. Get rid of them. Start digging through the topsoil until you get to the rocky layer below the sand. 10m under should be a perfect place to start.

Step 3 (optional): Hire Minions

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you’ll have to get yourself a crew. Tempt them with a percentage of the spoils and you’ll have tons of people begging to be a part of your team. Kids drop out of school for opportunities like these. A dining tent and a sleeping tent and that’s all they’ll ever need. Be warned though, adult supervision is required at all times.

Step 4: Get a Machine

For a few million Guyanese Dollars (10,000 USD) you’ll be able to get your hands on a state of the art, home made, diamond-excavating pump. The logic is flawless. Pulverize the rocks with high-pressure jets of water and sit back while your machine does the rest and pumps the water and gravel mixture to your filtration unit.

Step 5: Don’t Throw Away the Diamonds

Diamonds are heavier than all other rocks. And your filtration unit knows this all too well. The gravel and water mixture is filtered and heavy rocks are collected while the rest is pumped into a man made pond. Water from this pond is then re-used for the high-pressure jets in step 4.

Step 6: Rum, Women & Song

Rum, women and song are synonymous with miners. Guyana isn’t the exception. Once you’ve managed to sort the diamonds from the rubble, you’ll have a decent little pile of money to fund all your bad habits.

Happy mining!!

The Natural vs. Fake Debate

It would be criminal to ignore this long-standing feud between the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’ approaches to selecting a diamond. I’m going to side with the classical view and go for synthetic lab manufactured diamonds for the following reasons

  • Fewer flaws than natural diamonds
  • Cheaper (by at least 20%)
  • Rainforests prefer synthetic diamonds
  • Blood diamonds (need I say more)

Jason Noronha

Jason is a backpacker, saxophonist, writer, volunteer, photographer, entrepreneur, mountain climber and barefoot marathoner on a mission. A mission to travel the World in search of adventure..

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  1. Leonardo says:

    Hi, I’m an admin for a group called , i do love the split prong too this is the first pciture where i say it is so suited for the new group that I want that you first put it in, and second i like to use (if you agree) it as group icon. please be so kind.

  1. [...] up and turn the entire landscape grey. Spending a night out in the town, you’re bound to meet a miner or in my case, the owner of a gold mine. Money flows as freely as the rum and a good time is [...]

  2. [...] the rainforest without getting wet?  We finally give up and head out in the rain to visit a diamond mine on Amatuk Island. Loading our stuff onto another boat (on the other side of Amatuk falls – smart eh?) we get back [...]

  3. [...] worth the trek. More interesting though is the tiny cave right next to the falls. A few decades ago pork knockers, testing their luck, dug this cave. This would be gold mine was abandoned as soon as the forest was [...]

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