Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Belmont Emerald Mine

The hole diving 400 feet into the Belmont Mine is narrow, dripping wet and devoid of light. The waist-level elevator cage plunges quickly, and miners hold their arms close to their bodies for fear of losing them to the jagged rock walls of black biotitic schist.

The 25-year-old Belmont Mine is in an emerald-rich region called Itabira in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The mine is producing gem-quality emeralds consistently. Emeralds are a fairly recent discovery in Brazil.

The country’s geologists and independent miners long theorized emeralds must exist somewhere in Brazil, but the first deposits were not found until 1963 in the states of Piauí and Bahia.
Run-of-mine at Belmont is about 1,000 cubic meters of ore per month, or about 2,000 tons of emerald-bearing ore. Of that, about four grams per ton are gem quality.
The Belmont mine is reportedly one of the largest and best-developed mines in Brazil