A geologist who went to work in one of the world’s diamond capitals has published a new book.
Huddersfield-born Mike Brook moved to South Africa in 1980 straight after university.
He worked in Botswana for one of the world’s most famous diamond companies De Beers.
Mike, a former pupil at Fartown Comprehensive and Huddersfield New College, went to Botswana fresh from a geology degree at Newcastle-upon-Tyne to work as a bush diamond prospector.
Based in Lobatse, he spent three years searching for diamonds in the Kalahari Desert and two short stints as a mine geologist at Orapa, Letlhakane and Jwaneng mines.
Botswana is one of the world’s largest diamond producers.
It is also the largest diamond producer by value and hosts three of the top ten producing diamond mines in the world.
Revenue from Botswana’s diamond mines currently contributes about 35% of gross domestic product and over 60% of revenue to the government of Botswana.
The country has a fully-developed “diamond pipeline” which takes the stone from the mine through to processing and jewellery manufacture.
Mike, who lives in Notwane, just outside Botswana’s capital Gaborone, published his first book Crocodile Pools Botswana – History and Biodiversity in 2011. He has now published a second, Botswana’s Diamonds – Prospecting to Jewellery.
The first book was about the flora and fauna of a little-known part of the country.
Mike lives with his wife Agnes Dudu and has three children. The two eldest, Jennifer and Jeremy, live and work in London.
Mike’s latest book is said to be the first of its kind to be solely dedicated to the story behind Botswana’s diamond success, following the stone from mine to finger.
After working in the diamonds industry, Mike returned briefly to the UK to study before working in Africa and the Middle East in water resources and civil engineering.
In the 10 years he spent in the Sultanate of Oman he helped to establish a new Ministry of Water Resources and in the United Arab Emirates he ran the water resources department of the newly-formed Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.
In 2007 he returned to Botswana and is currently group hydrogeologist with the Debswana Diamond Company.
He is the son of Raymond and Phyllis Brook, of Birkby.