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Gk 12
Mr Hoch
Mining in South Africa
South Africa has a great number of minerals, the two most prominent among others
are gold and diamonds.
Since 1886 South Africa has been the Gold Producing
Mecca of the world. From that year forward the
southern-tip African country has literally dominated the
global gold scene.
At its peak production
in 1970 South Africa contributed 79% of the
world's annual supply of the noble yellow. Its
dominant position has waned in the last 30 years although it is still Numero Uno in total gold
production, followed by the North-America and a distant third Australia. Today, South
African gold mines supply about 25% of the world's yearly production …(full article
The development of the South African diamond industry is inseparably linked to the
rise of the De Beers empire... (full article here)
The diamond resources in the Kimberley region
are considered primary, because this is where
they formed millions of years ago. Diamonds are
crystallised long ago under extreme pressure
and high temperatures in deeper layers of the
earth crust. Volcanic activities set them free.
The pressure of the earth's magma caused the formation of pipes in the earth crust,
through which the magma erupted as a volcano. The diamonds are enclosed in these
pipes, which consist of volcanic stone, the so-called Kimberlite. By drilling into the
pipes from the side, miners excavate the
diamond-containing stone. Ten tons of
stone usually contain one or two carats of
raw diamonds, one carat equalling about
0.2 grams.
The "Big Hole" of Kimberley, itself is an
astonishing sight. Mined to a depth of 215 metres, and
with a surface area of about 17 hectares and a
perimeter of about 1,6 km, it is the largest hand-dug
excavation in the world. On 14 August 1914 work on the
mine was suspended. By that time 22,5 million tons of
earth had been excavated, yielding 2 722 kilograms of diamonds.