South African gems that sparked diamond rush are only quartz
Johannesburg, Jun 21 (EFE).- Stones found in a South African village earlier in June turned out to be only quartz crystals, authorities said.
The stone findings sparked a form of diamond fever among scores of locals who turned up with picks and shovels in search of more gemstones in the eastern South African KwaHlathi community.
“The tests conducted conclusively revealed that the stones discovered in the area are not diamonds as some had hoped. In fact, what has been discovered are quartz,” the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government announced late on Sunday.
Local shepherds discovered the thought-to-be gems in KwaHlathi, located nearly 400 kilometers southeast of Johannesburg, causing the word to spread that they could be valuable diamonds.
Not too long after the discovery, people from all over South Africa rushed to the impoverished area on a quest to try their luck with illegal mining, with over a thousand diamond diggers active on certain days.
Authorities in the KwaZulu-Natal province stressed that KwaHlathi is not a diamond mining area, and warned that illegal mining can cause high risks of environmental degradation.
Hundreds of people crowding the small area heighten the chances of contracting Covid-19, they said.
Illegal mining in South Africa is one of the most common unlawful activities amid high levels of poverty amongst the black population. EFE