Australia is known for its vast mineral resources, including precious metals like gold, but did you know that the country is also home to diamonds? While not as well-known as other mining pursuits, diamond fossicking has a rich history in Australia, dating back to the mid-1800s. Fossicking, or the act of searching for gems or minerals in their natural setting, has become a popular pastime for many Australians and tourists alike, seeking the thrill of the hunt and the chance to uncover a precious gemstone.
There are several areas in Australia where diamond fossicking is permitted, including the Central Queensland Gemfields, which boasts the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Northern Territory’s Larrimah region, where rare pink diamonds can be found. Other popular diamond-fossicking destinations include New South Wales and Western Australia, which have a rich history of diamond mining and exploration.
If you’re interested in diamond fossicking in Australia, it’s important to understand the regulations and restrictions around the activity. Permits may be required in some areas, and it’s essential to follow all safety guidelines to protect both yourself and the environment. With a little bit of research and some determination, however, the thrill of finding a diamond in the rough could be within your reach.
What Is The History Of Diamond Hunting In Australia?
Diamond hunting in Australia has a long and interesting history that dates back to the mid-1800s. The first diamonds found in Australia were located in 1851 near a well known area called Bathurst in New South Wales, although they were not recognized as diamonds at the time. It wasn’t until a few years later that a diamond was discovered in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in 1871, sparking a diamond rush that brought prospectors from all over the world to the area.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, diamond mining in Australia experienced periods of boom and bust. In the 1890s, the discovery of the Jubilee Diamond Mine in Western Australia led to a rush of prospectors, but the mine proved to be unprofitable and was abandoned. The same thing happened in the early 20th century when the Echunga Diamond Fields in South Australia failed to yield significant amounts of diamonds.
Despite these setbacks, diamond mining in Australia continued to develop, with several large diamond mines established in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and the Kimberley region. One of the most famous of these mines was the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia, which began operations in 1983 and became the world’s largest supplier of pink diamonds. The mine closed in 2020, marking the end of an era for diamond mining in Australia.
Today, diamond hunting in Australia is mostly limited to fossicking, or searching for diamonds in their natural setting. While commercial diamond mining has declined, there are still opportunities for enthusiasts to search for diamonds in areas like the Central Queensland Gemfields, the Larrimah region of the Northern Territory, and other locations throughout the country.
What Are 10 Fossicking Places To Find Diamonds In Australia?
There are several places throughout Australia where diamond fossicking is permitted. Here are 10 locations where you may have the opportunity to find diamonds:
Central Queensland Gemfields, Queensland: This area is known for its sapphires, but diamonds can also be found here.
Larrimah, Northern Territory: Rare pink diamonds have been found in this area, making it a popular destination for diamond fossickers.
Bingara, New South Wales: This historic mining town is home to the Gwydir River, which is known for its alluvial diamonds.
Copeton Dam, New South Wales: This dam is known for its gemstones, including diamonds, and is a popular destination for fossickers.
Inverell, New South Wales: This region is known for its sapphires, but diamonds have also been found here.
Mudgee, New South Wales: This area is known for its alluvial diamonds, which can be found in the Cudgegong River.
Glen Innes, New South Wales: This region is known for its sapphires, but diamonds have also been found in the area.
Woodsreef, New South Wales: This abandoned mine is known for its diamonds, as well as other gemstones.
Kununurra, Western Australia: This region is known for its rare pink diamonds, which are highly sought after by collectors.
Ellendale, Western Australia: This region is known for its white and yellow diamonds, and was the site of the Ellendale Diamond Mine before it closed in 2015.
What Are The Laws For Fossicking For Diamonds In Australia?
The laws for fossicking for diamonds in Australia vary depending on the state or territory you are in. Generally speaking, most areas require a permit for fossicking, and there are rules and regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure the safety of fossickers. Here are some general guidelines:
Permits: Most states and territories require a permit for fossicking, which can be obtained from the relevant government department or local council. Permits may be restricted to certain areas, and there may be limits on the amount of material that can be taken.
Environmental Protection: Fossicking areas are often in sensitive environments, so it is important to follow all rules and regulations designed to protect the environment. This may include restrictions on the use of machinery and digging tools, as well as requirements to leave the area as you found it.
Safety: Fossicking can be a hazardous activity, so it is important to take appropriate safety precautions. This may include wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, carrying first aid equipment, and ensuring that you are familiar with any hazards in the area, such as snakes or other wildlife.
Reporting: If you find a diamond or any other valuable mineral, it is important to report it to the relevant authorities. Failure to do so can result in penalties or fines.
It is important to note that laws and regulations can change, so it is essential to check with the relevant government department or local council before fossicking for diamonds or any other minerals.
What Equipment Do You Need To Fossick For Diamonds?
Fossicking for diamonds requires some specialized equipment, but it does not necessarily have to be expensive or complicated. Here is a list of some of the equipment you might need:
Sieve: A sieve is used to separate the diamond-bearing gravel or soil from larger rocks and debris. A mesh size of 2-3mm is recommended for diamond fossicking.
Shovel or Trowel: A small shovel or trowel is useful for digging up soil or gravel.
Pick: A pick is useful for breaking up hard soil or rock.
Gloves: Gloves are recommended to protect your hands while fossicking.
Magnet: A magnet can be used to help separate magnetic minerals from the diamond-bearing material.
Loupe: A loupe, or small magnifying glass, can be used to examine small stones and minerals for identifying characteristics.
Container: A container, such as a bucket or backpack, is useful for collecting and carrying your diamond-bearing material.
Water: A supply of water is useful for washing and cleaning your diamond-bearing material.
Headlamp: A headlamp or flashlight is useful if you are fossicking in low light conditions or underground.
Safety Gear: Depending on the location and conditions, safety gear such as a hard hat, safety glasses, and sturdy boots may be necessary.
It is important to note that the specific equipment you need may vary depending on the location and the conditions. Before heading out to fossick for diamonds, it is recommended that you do your research and check with the local authorities to ensure that you have the appropriate equipment and permits.