South Africa

KZN authorities confirm stones found in KwaHlathi are not real diamonds

This after the government sent a team of geological and mining experts to the area.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development Ravi Pillay on Sunday announced that the stones discovered in KwaHlathi near Ladysmith are not real diamonds.

Pillay, speaking at a media briefing a short while ago, said the stones are quartz crystals.

The government had sent a team of geological and mining experts to the area to collect stones for analysis.

Thousands of people have been flocking to the outskirts of KwaHlathi village after a cattle herder last week unearthed a handful of unidentified crystal-like stones.

News of the finding spread fast, triggering a rush to the site despite messages of caution by the government warning the stones could be worthless.

In videos and pictures that circulated on social media, community members could be seen celebrating the discovery of diamonds as they believe they have struck it rich.

South Africa, internationally renowned for its mineral wealth, still holds a record for the world’s largest-ever rough diamond discovery – the Cullinan – found in 1905 in the small mining town by the same name.

The country is also the birth place of the Kimberley Process, an international certification scheme to keep conflict diamonds off the market.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala had called for calm in KwaHlathi, warning that the activities in the community were concerning as they could result in a stampede as people continued to flood the site.

Additional reporting by AFP and Vhahangwele Nemakonde.

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