Kimberley Mines and Associated Early Industries

Date of Submission: 15/05/2004
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism - Republic of South Africa
Ref.: 1909
Word File

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This is the site of the first great 19th Century African mineral find consisting primarily of a large, hand dug crater created by the removal of diamond bearing Kimberlite ore. The mine, no longer operational, is where the industrial revolution came to Africa in the 1870s and is the spark that led to the so-called 'Scramble for Africa'. Capital generated by the richest diamond deposit ever, was crucial to development of the Southern African industrial complex, notably gold mining and Johannesburg. Kimberley capital also directly shaped Zambia and Zimbabwe and determined the political history of the sub-continent in many other ways. The Kimberley Mine saw the establishment of the first large, industrial city in Southern Africa and its location determined communications routes on the sub-continent and led to the creation of several modern ports. Its situation in an arid, sparsely populated region is at the origins of the migrant labor system that came to be used throughout Southern Africa and still influences patterns of economic development and movement of population. The discovery of the Kimberley Mine moved the centre of the diamond industry from Brazil to Africa, where it remains, and led to the establishment of De Beers Consolidated Mines and with it the system according to which the modern diamond industry is managed and its viability protected.