Experts find KZN ‘diamonds’ are quartz crystals

KZN MEC for Economic Development Ravi Pillay made the announcement on Sunday after thousands had flocked to the area in search of the 'precious stone'.

A woman uses a pick axe to dig as hundreds of others search for what they believe to be diamonds on 15 June 2021 after the recent discovery of unidentified stones at KwaHlathi village near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

JOHANNESBURG – A team of mining experts has found the stones discovered in KwaHlathi, near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal are not diamonds but quartz-crystals.

Speaking to eNCA on Sunday evening, the KZN MEC for Economic Development Ravi Pillay said several tests had been conducted by the experts.

“The tests conducted conclusively revealed that the stones discovered in the area are not diamonds as some had hoped. In fact, has been discovered are quartz-crystals that are common across the Karoo Supergroup with an extensional facture planes within, and along, the contact of the Karoo dolerite sill.”

Pillay said the value of the quartz crystals was yet to be established with their value being exceptionally low compared to that of diamonds.

The MEC has appealed to the people on-site to vacate the area due to concerns about the potential of spreading COVID-19.

Thousands of people had reportedly descended on the KwaHlati area since last week after rumours that precious gems had been discovered there.

READ: Mystery stones spark diamond rush in poverty-hit KZN village

Officials from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the provincial KZN government arrived to inspect the site on Tuesday.

They were accompanied by representatives of the Council for Geoscience and the South African Diamond & Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR).

Last week 702 and Cape Talk presenter Bruce Whitefield spoke to Tania Marshall, President-elect of the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA).

LISTEN: More on the discussion about the KwaHlathi ‘diamond rush’ on the Money Show on 15 June 2021

Additional reporting by Paula Luckhoff

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