After hearing about a diamond frenzy from friends, Malibongwe Matiwane (54) drove from Pietermaritzburg to the area.
“I was ecstatic since I work with diamonds and assumed we’d be able to buy them from a local mine immediately. But my joy was short-lived since, after feeling the stones by hand before putting them on my tester, I could tell they weren’t diamonds,” Malibongwe explained.
He claimed that he tested more than five stones to ensure that the results were correct, and that they all yielded the same results.
If these were actual diamonds, Malibongwe explained, the tester should display red bars on the screen and sound a beep at the end. “However, in this situation, all of the stones I checked lit up with a caution color, indicating that they were nowhere near a diamond,” he explained.
He claimed that because he was not a geologist, he couldn’t tell what kind of stone they were. However, he suspected they were a hoax, claiming that while individuals would still gain money, it wouldn’t be the same as selling a diamond.
The other issue is that diamonds are difficult to clean. They need to be cleaned properly, something you can’t accomplish by yourself. If they are discovered in the ground, one must dig quite deep. Before a true diamond is discovered, an industrial diamond that is not used due to its poor quality must first be discovered,” Malibongwe explained.
The government was also expecting to deploy a team of experts to assess the site, including geologists. The provincial government is concerned that the ongoing mining activity in the kwaHlathi area would develop into a Covid superspreader. Hundreds of fortune seekers descended on the patch of land that local villagers think is flooded with diamonds on Monday.
According to Thabani Vilakazi, a local villager, the gathering is growing by the day. He stated he had been at the location since Saturday, when word of the discovery of diamonds in the area began to circulate. “I was one of the first to arrive, and if my memory serves me well, there were around 20 individuals on the first day. Then the number began to rise every day, eventually reaching over a thousand.
In the wake of claims of unlawful mining in KwaHlathi, Premier Sihle Zikalala has called for calm and order. Some persons participating in illicit mining can be seen celebrating in the notion that they’ve unearthed diamonds in videos that have gone viral on social media.
The provincial government tasked the Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs to refer the matter to the national Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, as the relevant department dealing with such matters, as soon as his office was informed of what was going on, according to Zikalala.
“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has stated that teams will be dispatched to the location. The location will be inspected by these teams, which include the department’s enforcement and compliance unit. A team from Mintek Council for Mineral Technology and CGS Council for Geoscience is part of the second. The Mintek and GCS teams will include a geologist and will focus on determining exactly what the things discovered in KwaHlathi are, according to Zikalala.