Stones unearthed in a poor corner of South Africa by thousands of people who believe they were diamonds are in fact quartz, according to preliminary test results presented on Sunday, June 20.
Thousands of people, armed with shovels, pickaxes and sticks, had flocked last week to the side of a hill in the small village of KwaHlathi, located more than 300 kilometers from Johannesburg, in Kwazulu-Natal (east). The first mysterious stones had been unearthed by a herd keeper. Photos on social networks then caused the runaway.
This mad rush caused the government to react, sending scientists and mining experts to collect samples for analysis. The results, announced on Sunday, shattered the dreams of those who believed they could get rich or end their life of misery.
“Tests have revealed that the stones found in the area are not diamonds”, the local government said in a statement. “In fact, they are quartz crystals”, he continued, noting that the value of these stones, yet to be assessed, would be ” very weak “ compared to that of diamonds.
According to the analysis report, the area where the stones were discovered is located near a volcanic rock called dolerite, “Which is not an area where diamonds are present”. Quartz crystals are furthermore common within a sedimentary basin known as the Karoo Supergroup, which stretches the length of the site.
The influx of South Africans in search of diamonds has “Brought to light the socio-economic challenges facing people in the region”, stressed the local government. He said he wanted to respond to the problems raised when they came, namely the quality of roads and access to water. At the same time, the government reiterated its call for the population to leave the site, citing risks linked to the coronavirus and environmental degradation.