Mirny Mine and its 525-meter-deep Gap

Located in Siberia, Russia, the Mirny Mine, or Mir Mine, is a diamond mining gap that is 525 meters deep and 1,2 kilometers wide. These figures make the mine the 4th largest mine in the world and one of the largest holes that humanity ever excavated. The town of Mirny has a population of 40,000 people. While the people live in one of the remotest places on Earth, close to the Arctic Circle, they do enjoy the popularity and somewhat economic prosperity the mining operations have brought. Since the 1950s, and 2009 after a brief shutdown, the mine has been constantly operational.

Mirny Mine town houses

One of the most peculiar aspects of the Mirny Mine is that due to its location, the sun is up for 20 hours. Despite the constant exposure to the sun, the average temperature in the region goes as low as -20s and -30s.

Mirny Mine

The first discovery of mine in the town was in the mid-1950s. Following the discovery of a huge source of diamonds, mining operations began after a short while. However, the operations were not without danger. Most of the town’s ground is permafrost which means frozen soil. This soil is prone to melt during summer which makes it really hard for the buildings on land to be stable.

Mirny Mine and buildings

Therefore, nearly all the buildings in the town are on steel piles or on higher land where permafrost does not melt. Until its shutdown in the early 2000s, the Mirny Mine earned the mining company nearly 1 billion dollars of profit every year.

Mirny Mine from above

Today, the mine is under the control of Alrosa which is Russia’s biggest diamond mining company. Out of 40,000 town residents, almost all working-age men and women, work in or for the mines at some capacity. Mirny remains one of the last surviving examples of a monocity, where nearly all the population work in the same industry.

Mirny Mine gap from above
500 meter deep gap
the mining gap and the town