Submitted by: Rayaz Siddiqi

In todays article, we will give you a short introduction on how rubies are mined and the process involved.

The main methods of mining rubies are placer, underground mining and hydraulic mining; the method depends on how deep into the earth the rubies are situated. There are other methods which we will also briefly touch upon.

Placer Method of Mining

The placer method is also known as river panning and involves collecting the gemstones whilst washing away gravel from a river. creek or stream; an obvious pre-requisite of this is identifying the gravel which could possibly contain the rubies.

A large pan is filled with water and then it is shaken back and forth to ensure the heavy materials fall to the bottom of the pan; this is repeated until there is a small amount of concentrate left in the pan. Then this concentrate is moved to a smaller pan to see if there are any gems.

Hydraulic Mining

In hydraulic mining, very powerful jets of water are used to loosen the gems from the rocks. The water splits the rocks and washes large pieces downhill; this causes the gems to be separated. Due to its harmful effects on the natural environment, this type of mining is not used now.

Mountaintop Removal Mining

This method entails cleaning the mountaintop at the ground level by cutting down trees and shrubs. Dynamite is then used to blast the top of the mountain; the resulting large rocks are then scoured for the gemstones.

Underground Mining

This method of mining is used as an alternative to surface mining, which is often not possible. This is the most common way of finding gemstones, and involves miners digging underground until they find gemstones.

The main forms of underground mining are:

Borehole Mining

Holes are drilled very deep inside the land using very large bore drills. Then a plastic tube is passed through the hole, water is then pushed through this tube at very high speeds. This water breaks the rocks and forms muddy slurry, which is stored in tankers. The water is then separated from the slurry to leave gemstones.

Drift Mining

Drift mining is performed on the mountains and entails first identifying rocks which are below the side of the mountain. The opening s created are called tunnels, and the gemstones are derived from the materials that come through the tunnels down from the hills.

Shaft Mining

Vertical tunnels called shafts are created below the mountain when shaft mining is used. Miners move up and down one of the shafts and another shaft is used for bringing the material from below the ground. More tunnels are made for blasting the rocks and the gems are found from amongst the rocks.


In most of the mining methods we have discussed, rocks are broken down into small or medium chunks using explosives such as dynamite. These rocks are then processed to extract the gemstones. Once you have the raw gemstone, it can be cleaned, cut and polished to produce the finished article.

About the Author: Rayaz Siddiqi

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