Russia reveals huge diamond source under asteroid crater

September 18th, 2012 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 18 (IANS) Russia can supply diamonds across world markets for the next 3,000 years. The government has revealed a vast diamond source under a 100-km-wide crater that was created by an asteroid 35 million years ago.

Russia discovered the site in the 1970s but kept it a secret until now to exploit the tightly controlled diamond market, the Daily Mail reported.

At the Popigai Astroblem crater in Siberia, the diamonds are twice as hard, making them ideal for high-precision scientific instruments and industry, the report said.

The government finally gave scientists from the Novosibirsk Institute of Geology and Mineralogy permission to reveal the crater’s secret.

The stones at Popigai are known as “impact diamonds”, which are created when an object like a meteor strikes an existing diamond deposit.

“The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the Popigai crypto-explosion structure are by a factor of ten bigger than the world’s all known reserves,” institute director Nikolai Pokhilenko was quoted as saying.

Diamond production was booming in Russia in 2007 when output reached $1.35 billion. Around 98 percent were exported to Belgium, Israel, southeast Asia and the US.

But polished diamond production fell to an unprecedented low of $350 million during the economic crisis in 2009.

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