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 Form 1 Geography Online Lessons on Mining

In this lesson we are going to learn about mining of gold in South Africa and the benefits it brings to the economy

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Answer Text:
Gold in S. Africa
-Gold occurs as small grains in a hard rock.
-It’s mined by shaft mining since its bearing rocks are deep below the surface. The main mining area is the Witwatersrand and others are Ogendaalrus and lydenburg. Processing
• Ore is crushed to a fine powdery dust.
• Mixed with water until it is fluid mud.
• Cyanide is added to dissolve gold.
• The fluid is runoff with gold dissolved leaving behind waste salts.
• Zinc dust is added to filter gold for solidification.
• Gold sinks as it is denser.
• Gold is smelted and cast into ingots.
Significance to the Economy of S. Africa
1. Earns the country foreign exchange used for paying foreign debts.
2. Offers employment to many people raising their living standards.
3. Has led to widespread urbanisation contributing to formation of Witwatersrand conurbation.
4. Has formed a broad market for other industries e.g. engineering, foot wear, electrical and construction industries.
5. Has led to improvement of infrastructure and social amenities e.g. roads, schools, hospitals, etc.
6. Led to development of agriculture.
Problems Facing Gold mining
1. Expensive to mine for lying deeply.
2. Large capital is required to start mines.
3. Complication of mining by folds and faults in the crust.
4. Low gold content in the ore.
5. Problem of removal of underground water.
6. Lack of adequate supply of fresh water on the surface in mining areas.
7. Accidents resulting from collapsing of mine roofs.