The Golden Rhino
A golden rhinoceros was found at Mapungubwe, which is a valuable part of our heritage. When Mapungubwe was abandoned in about 1270, Great Zimbabwe became the new centre of the gold trade for the next two centuries.
The Golden Timeline
Take a trip through time as you map your way along the GOLDEN TIMELINE and discover the history of gold through the ages.
Mining Gold – From Extraction to 99% pure gold
- Gold Mining in South Africa
South Africa gold mines are deep level mines reaching depths of over three kilometres.
- Going Underground
Miners go underground in shaft cages and then walk or take trains to the work face. When sinking a new shaft they descend in buckets, called kibbles.
- Safety Equipment
All miners wear hard hats, boots and carry battery lights and, when appropriate, use personal protective equipment like ear plugs, goggle and respirators.
Miners work in teams in low, narrow work places called stopes. Their first task is to ensure the stope is safe by barring down loose rocks and installing support structures. Then they begin to drill.
- Ore Extraction
Holes are drilled in the gold-bearing reef using a pneumatic rock drill. These holes are filled with explosives and timed with igniter cord and fuses to ensure a pre-determined sequence of blasts. The area is blasted in order to free the gold-bearing rock from the face. This rock is then scraped awat from the stope into box holes, where it is drawn off into hopper, or small railway cars, hauled by locomotives.
- Ore Transport
Ore is hoisted from the lowest underground level of the mine in skips and then transported to the gold plant by rail hopper or conveyor belts.
- Crushing and Milling
Ore is crushed and then milled to a fine powder.
- Leaching and Carbon-in-Pulp
Gold is leached from slurry by means of dilute cyanide solution. Carbon is used to absorb gold form the solution. This is called “carbon-in-pulp” process.
- Gold Recovery Process
The carbon particle are screened from the pulp and chemically treated to produce a pure solution of electrowinning.
- Smelting of Gold
10 Facts about Gold
- Most of the world’s gold comes from Africa.
Africa is home to two thirds of all the gold ever mined.
- Gold never rusts, corrodes, or tarnishes.
That’s why so many ancient gold artifacts remain intact to this day.
- A piece of gold can be hammered into a very thin sheet.
Gold can be hammered until it it so thin, it’s see-through!
- The deepest gold mines in the world are located in South Africa.
South Africa’s deepest operating mine is 3,5 kilometres deep. This min is an AngloGold Ashanti mine called TauTone in Carltonville.
- Africans have been goldsmithing for thousands of years.
The deep-level gold in the South African Witwatersrand Basin area was only discovered about one hundred years ago. The oldest gold artifacts are Egyptian, some dating from 1352 BC.
- It is safe to eat gold.
In some societies, eating gold is common, as the metal has no negative effect of the human body. In fact, this is the reason gold can be used for tooth fillings.
- West Africa was once the world’s leading supplier of gold.
Between the 11th and 17th centuries, West Africa was the leading supplier of gold in the world. In the later Ages, this region supplied almost two thirds of the world’s gold production.
- Gold is used in everyday technology.
Gold is used in very small microchips in computers, telephone exchanges and many other industrial applications.
- Gold is used by astronauts in outer space.
Astronauts who walk in space are attached to the spaceship by a cord covered in gold to protect it from the heat of the sun. Parts of spaceships are also covered in blankets made of gold to keep the heat out.
- Gold can be used with glass to make windows.
Gold can be electroplated with glass to help keep buildings cool by keeping the sunlight out.