A preliminary scientific report has confirmed that stones being excavated by illegal prospectors at a poor, rural area outside the KwaZulu-Natal town of Ladysmith are quartz crystals, and not the life-altering diamonds that many diggers had hoped.
As previously reported by Daily Maverick, thousands of mostly locals, and some from other parts of the province and country, have been flocking to a 50ha area in the village of KwaHlathi to dig for diamonds since an unidentified stone was unearthed on Saturday, 12 June 2021 by a herdsman.
But KwaZulu-Natal's MEC for economic development and environment, Ravi Pillay, confirmed at a press briefing on Sunday, 20 June what many geologists had been saying since images of the stones were strewn all over the media -- that the area was not in a diamond zone and that the objects were indeed quartz crystals.
Tests undertaken by the Council for Geoscience on samples that were collected last week had "conclusively revealed" that the stones were "not diamonds", Pillay said.
A woman holds what she believes to be a diamond after the discovery of unidentified stones at KwaHlathi village near Ladysmith on 17 June 2021 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)