The Yakutia diamond mine was a closed Soviet location untill 1998 and was a source of much Soviet pride and wealth. It opened in 1957, but it's reserves were known of since the late 1940s. The Mirny (aka- Mirna or Mir) mine is a vast open-pit diamond mine mesurinf 525m deep by 1200m wide, which dug into a Udachnaya pipe rock formation from 1957 until 2004, in extremely harsh climate conditions.
At the time of its closing in 2004, the mine was the second largest excavated hole in the world, after Bingham Canyon Mine and it's natural down-draft winds had become a local hazard to low flying helicopters. Ever since 1999 there has been talk of a deep shaft mine being cut under it to get to the remaining diamonds, but nothing has happened yet.
During its peak years of operation, the mine produced ~10 million carats of diamond per year, of which a relatively high fraction (20%) were of gem quality, which annoyed the West's De Beers diamond firm in the 1960s and 1970s.
Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina and Viktor Avdeenko had done much in the late 1940s and trough out the 1950s to find it and other related diamond reserves. For this service Yuri Khabardin was awarded the Lenin Prize.
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