A Review of the Kimberlites of the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Michiel C. J. de Wit
  • Hielke A. Jelsma
Part of the Regional Geology Reviews book series (RGR)


An overview is provided of the exploration history and geological setting of the kimberlites in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Exploration for diamonds, in what was then known as Congo Belge, started in 1900 and the first diamonds were found in 1903 in Shaba (now Katanga) Province, in 1907 in Kasai Occidental Province near Tshikapa Town and in 1918 in Kasai Oriental Province near Mbuji Mayi Town. While the Kundelungu kimberlites in Katanga Province were discovered in 1908, other kimberlite fields were discovered much later (Mbuji Mayi 1946; Tshibwe 1956; Bas-Congo 1974; Kasendou and Lukashi 2005), during exploration work by Forminière (Société Internationale Forestière et Minière du Congo—Tshikapa), MIBA (Societé Minière de Bakwanga—Mbuji Mayi), the De Beers Group and Bugeco S.A. Published age constraints on the kimberlites show Late Cretaceous ages for the Mbuji Mayi kimberlites (~70 Ma) and Eocene-Oligocene ages for the Kundelungu kimberlites (~32 Ma). Emplacement of the Late Cretaceous kimberlites (Mbuji Mayi, Tshibwe, Kasendou and Lukashi) was concomitant with the deposition of Cretaceous sedimentary sequences. The majority of the pipes show crater-facies preservation and some of the pipes are flared displaying so-called ‘champagne glass-shaped’ morphologies, suggesting emplacement into unconsolidated sediments overlying basement. The age of the Eocene-Oligocene Kundelungu kimberlites corresponds to lithospheric extension associated with the southward propagation of the East African Rift.


Dolomitic Limestone Kimberlite Pipe East African Rift Southward Propagation Kimberlite Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We express our gratitude to Marc Fieremans and Paul Kabongo (MIBA) for their hospitality during a mine visit in 2006 and discussions on the geology of the Mbuji Mayi kimberlites. Reviews by John Gurney and Mike Lynn are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of PretoriaHatfieldSouth Africa
  2. 2.De Beers Group Services, ExplorationSouthdaleSouth Africa

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