De Beers to Turn Mine Into Tourist Site

One of the world’s first diamond mines may become a tourist attraction.

De Beers has set aside 16 million rands to transform the Kimberley, South Africa, “Big Hole” from a worn-out mine into a tourist destination.

“We want this to be a major attraction,” said Roger Ketley, secretary for De Beers Consolidated Mines. “Now that the mines are closing, a number of people in Kimberley will lose their jobs. We would like to soften that blow by creating an alternative industry.”

Among the ideas being batted around is a simulated underground mining experience for visitors and displays that “tell the diamond story.” There also are plans for a retail area—which will, of course, likely include a jewelry store.

The new attraction is set to open in 2005 or early 2006.