Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Without Sophie, everything in the mine became much more normal. The workers were either lazing around or going about their business. Few people cared about Li Du and his gang.
The people in charge of the mine followed the lion hunter. The miners were not afraid of them at all. When they appeared, those who were previously working were still working and those who were lazy were still idling.
The people in charged shouted at random, no matter whether it was relevant or not. Their job was done once they finished shouting.
After a visit to the mine pit, Li Du decided to go out for a breath. It was too depressing. He couldn’t blame the workers for being crazy. If he were to work here for any length of time, he would go crazy too.
They went out, and the lion hunter handed him a cigar and said, smiling, “What do you think, man?”
“This is crazy. This job is torture,” sighed Li Du.
The lion hunter said ruthlessly, “If you don’t have a choice, you will take any job to make money. Besides, do you think this is crazy? If you keep going north or look at those diamond mines in the west, you’ll see that my place is like heaven.”
Li Du was surprised. “So, what goes on in those diamond mines?”
The lion hunter smiled and said, “Go and have a look if you have a chance, Li. I’ve got some guys who escaped from there. They’re having a good time working here.”
After a few seconds, he added, “No matter what, diamond mining is never easy. It can make one crazy. So I had to pay my workers more, which increased the cost of mining. I mean, now you probably understand why the price of diamonds is going up continuously,” said the lion hunter slyly.
Li Du acknowledged that diamond mining was a torturous business, but as for the mine owners improving the treatment of their employees? He didn’t believe it.
The diamond mining process was very meticulous. When the ore was collected, there was a special staff responsible for picking it up.
They only visited the gathering process, and then there were other activities, which they observed under the guidance of the lion hunter.
Diamonds were rarely found directly by human eyes, because diamonds were too small to detect in the dark underground unless they were stones of a few dozen carats. In all other cases, they were screened by machines.
When they left the mine in a lift to return to the surface, they would pass through a checkpoint like the ones in airports, where machines scan people. This was to prevent miners from smuggling diamonds out, which they tried desperately to do.
“They hide the stones in their mouths, stuff them in their ass, pinch them with their toes, and even swallow them. The craziest guy I’ve ever seen, do you know what he did?”
“What did he do?”
The lion hunter shook his head and said, “He was such a crazy bastard that he made a hole in his leg with his shovel, hid the diamond in it, and cried for help with blood running down.”
“And what happened in the end?” asked Li Du.
The lion hunter took a puff at his cigar and smiled. “Oh, no, I can’t go on, and you won’t want to know the final outcome.”
Li Du did not press him, as he knew it must be a terrible thing. These mine owners would do anything in order to protect their property and teach their employees a lesson.
They were supposed to go to the screening workshop first, but it was so chaotic and dusty that the lion hunter decided to skip the step.
“There’s nothing to see,” he explained. “They use the different wave penetration of diamonds and Kimberley for the analysis. When they find a diamond, they break the ore. That the whole process. ”
By noon, rough diamonds found in the morning were collected and brought to the lion hunter.
The lion hunter motioned to Li Du and Sophie to look at the objects and said, “These quarried stones feel extraordinary when they come in contact with human skin.”
The stones were plain, like dark, semi-transparent chunks of salt, but when cut open, they revealed their inner wonder.
Next, the rough diamonds were ready to be processed.
They were first sent to the valuation company building, of which every mine had one. In that building, there were government officials, appraisers, sheriffs and so on.
Officials and staff members watched attentively as the stones were taken to a small room with explosion-proof glass and weighed for the first time.
When Li Du’s gang went there, the atmosphere of the room was tense, silent. They could only hear the gurgling sound of friction between the raw stones.
The raw stone weighing needed to be carried out three times, in three rooms on three different scales.
Supervised by officials, three workers in three rooms carefully sifted through the raw stones, weighed them in batches and recorded the earliest data.
If the recorded weight difference reached 1%, the stone would have to be weighed again, and the supervision would be more stringent.
Diamonds and gold were an important part of the South African economy. The government had to know the exact value of diamonds produced in the mines to tax them.
At the end of the weighing process, the lion hunter waved, smiled at Li Du and said, “Come on, distinguished guest, I will take you through the following procedures personally.”
He took out a safe and asked Li Du to open it. The box was divided into dozens of small cells of different sizes and grades.
In South Africa, the stones were divided into 23 levels according to size, and the lion hunter, who knew how to do this, explained the process to Li Du. Then he placed the diamonds in the cells of the safe and sent it to the valuation workshop.
The valuation workshop was the best place to work in the mine. It looked like a laboratory, with wide French windows and white lights. Employees working there were equipped with snacks and drinks.
Li Du nodded and said, “Their working conditions are good.”
The lion hunter grinned. “They get paid well. This is the kind of job many young people in our country want. It’s decent, easy, well-paid, but it requires a certain level of skills.”
More than a dozen workers sat at long tables with plenty of light, in comfortable surroundings.
The diamonds in the safe deposit box were sent towards the desk by a conveyor belt. The workers used their well-trained hands, choosing those raw stones that were suitable to be carved into jewelry. Next, the raw stones that were picked out were divided into groups according to color, character, and shape.
“It takes at least ten years of experience to do this job properly. I think that if they qualify, they will be sent to London and Antwerp for training, and if they are assessed as excellent, they can work for me,” smiled the lion hunter.
Determining the value of a diamond is complicated and is often described using the 4C standardColor, Carat, Cut, and Clarity.
Actually, it was not that simple. The audit process had as many as 500 steps, and the finer the diamond, the more auditing processes it has to undergo.