Despite the extremely cold temperature, Russia plays host to some of the largest open pit diamond operations in the world.
The Mir diamond mine is no longer in operation but its size still astonishes people. It was the first mine to open in the former Soviet Union. It was discovered during exploration done to locate mines in 1955. It ran all the way until 1994.
The Mir diamond is located in Eastern Siberia. It is sometimes referred to as the Mirny mine. The mine is so large and so deep that satellite imagery taken of the mine is a popular image to be sold on postcards. Helicopters are not allowed to fly near the area because there have been instances where they have been pulled downward by the presence of the mine. The Mir mine currently is abandoned with no plans to reopen it.
The Udachnaya mine, located in the Artic circle in Russia, is still in operation. It was discovered just days after the Mir mine was located. It has one of the largest diamond deposits, both in Russia and in the world. It also is one of the largest open-pit mines still in operation. The Udachnaya mine has run into problems because the waste water contains too much bromine and chlorine and therefore can not be simply deposited into nearby rivers. Elaborate well draining systems have been created in order to allow the mine to continue operations.
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