Please do not use these photos without permission from the copyright holder. However no such rivers or traces of them exist. The closure of all mining activity in October 1899 brought to a sudden end to virtually all economic activity in the region. The connected chain of mines that lies east and west of Johanesburg has produced a considerable portion of the world’s gold.It is estimated that about 1,565 million ounces of gold were produced from the conglomerate beds (reefs) in the Witwatersrand basin between 1886 and 2000. Joseph Kirkman's Missing Manuscript - Can the mystery now be put to rest? To understand exactly how much gold is in the world and when we may run out, a good first step is to look at current sources and production of gold.The largest single source of gold in history has been the Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa. However, these diggings had also been largely alluvial in nature and, despite the fact that ore deposits on the new reef seemed to be both concentrated and of a long life expectancy, the Government took the view that Johannesburg would be no different from any of the other gold mining villages which had preceded it. (it should be noted that we do not know for certain the exact compounds or contaminants being brought up in the springs). Many photos are submitted by heritage enthusiasts across the country. Then at a point in time, a huge meteor fell in the present district of Vredefort. Thus, initially at any rate, life in the new mining town was one of uncertainty and, for a number of years many of its early buildings retained their prefabricated iron-and-timber character. These gold fields dominated production throughout the twentieth century, but production peaked at … Shafts go down some 3,900 meters be… Following upon the declaration of Johannesburg, this area was taken over by the Government who had it surveyed and named it Ferreira’s Town. Of these about 600 White residents farmed the Witwatersrand region, which was considered to be a fairly well populated area by the standards of that time. The first discovery of gold in the region is recorded as being in 1852 in the Pardekraal farm by J.H. That the impact caused the lake, or multi-layered swamp, to distort is obvious. Information Circular No. The outcrop in Gauteng forms the Witwatersrand ridge, from which the basin and its rocks derive their name. 1886, gold was found along the Witwatersrand, and this by 1914 was to make the South African gold industry the world’s top producer . Today, some 200 small gold mines still operate in … Following the South African War, population patterns resumed their previous trends of rapid growth, assisted in part by the influx, in 1904, of some 64,000 Chinese indentured labourers. By the end of the following year, in 1888, the number of companies had dropped down to 39, only to rise up again to 52 by the end of 1889. Witwatersrand accounts for roughly 50 percent of the gold ever mined. This piled up along a roughly East-West line to form the Witwatersrand Ridge, about 120 kilometres from impact. Photo: Supplied. The gold and mineral rich layers were displaced downwards like the saucer of a cup, the ‘hinge, being along the Witwatersrand ridge and sloping downwards at angles around 30 degrees at surface and curving out as deep as six km underground. Despite this, the vast majority of the Reef's companies were still engaged in surface mining and the only real shafts sunk to date were on the Jubilee and Langlaagte properties. Another theory became popular, that the gold had come up in volcanic activity, the volcanoes being eroded away over time, and releasing gold rich rock into an inland sea. Though there were smaller mining operations in the region, it wasn’t until 1884 and the subsequent 1886 discovery at Langlaagte that the Witwatersrand gold rush got under way in ea… The Witwatersrand Gold Rush initiated South Africa’s domination of world gold production. They therefore believed the gold could not continue for more than about 30 to 50 meters underground. This will also explain why some of the gold mines in the Randfontein area had stopes that were vertical. The South African War of 1899–1902 forced every gold mine into a virtual shutdown and led to a lowered demand for black labour and the loss of over 100, 000 jobs (a, Figure 1). These muds in turn were dense enough to lift with them various minerals, copper, silver, uranium and others, leaking out of the Earth’s center. The Strubens and Gold, by Anna Cunningham, Wits University. Davis, an English miner. As the nearest rail-heads were at Kimberley, Ladysmith and Komatipoort, all stores, materials and personnel had to be carried to the mines at great expense by either mule or ox-drawn wagons. The main Witwatersrand gold reef was discovered in June 1884 on the farm Vogelstruisfontein by Jan Gerritse Bantjes that triggered the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the founding of Johannesburg in 1886. Prior to the discovery of the Main Reef in 1886, the Transvaal Republic is estimated to have been the home of some 40,000 White and predominantly Dutch-speaking immigrants, and 300,000 indigenous residents. This appears to be the unchanged remnants of the muds brought up by the hot springs, yet too distant from the impact to have suffered chemical change. Portion of the Main Reef at George Harrison Park (Gavin Whitfield). The Witwatersrand Basin is approximatly 350 km long and 200 km wide. Could this have been the source of the Iron Pyrite? Along the shoreline, mostly along what would become the Witwatersrand, but stretching away towards Potchefstroom, seemed to be a series of hot springs or geysers. Capital, mine personnel and technical expertise were available from the Kimberley diamond mines, as well as the gold fields of Australia and North America. Contribute. The next theory was that this was a deep lake, that had filled with gold-bearing debris over the ages, from rivers entering at various points. Does anyone have information about this fascinating auction lot bought in the UK? Know something about this topic? In times of rain as water reached the hot rock, they cracked the underlying rock, allowing sulphur, gold, iron rich mud, silver and uranium, to boil out in huge quantities, fanning out across the low lying ground to the South, and spreading their minerals as they spewed. If you would like to post a comment and need instructions click here. (Fred Struben diaries, University of the Witwatersrand, and Oppenheimer Library.). It has produced some 2 billion ounces over a century of mining and at an average grade of 15 g/t Au with a current head grade of 6-10 g/t Au and they still have estimated reserves of some 1,161 billion ounces (36,000 tonnes). Five years later, in 1895, Johannesburg was known to hold 102,000 people, this number being equally divided between White and Black residents. When the Struben brothers, Fred and Harry, began prospecting the Witwatersrand ridge around 1883-4, they found gold in small quantities in the streams and quartzes. When Fred Struben discovered the “Confidence Reef, he states in his diary “ I was finding a grain of gold for every grain of sand”. However, these were minor reefs, and today it is the general consensus that credit for the discovery of the main gold reef must be attributed to George Harrison, whose findings on the farm Langlaagte were made in July 1886, either through accident or systematic prospecting. These springs, heated to boiling far underground where water came into contact with hot rock in turn heated by lavas from the Rietfontein series of faults, carried iron-rich mud. Today, masses of iron pyrite is (or was) mixed in with the gold. This gigantic occurrence blasted a crater over 100 km wide and tens of km deep. Can anyone tell me where this building in East London is? Fred Struben states in his diary, “I was chasing a pipe, but lost it and could not find it again.”. The Rand’s healthy and equitable climatic conditions. Goldfields Revisited, by Edward p. Mathers, F.R.G.S. Midway between these dates, in 1886, the world’s largest goldfields were discovered on the Witwatersrand. Davis discovered the first gold in the Witwatersrand, leading to the South African gold rush and the discovery of much more gold deposits within the basin. It is assumed that these hot springs vented in roughly a great semi-circle over a hundred and fifty kilometres. Primary among these were: Not all of these advantages were immediately perceived. Discovery of the Gold in 1884 The first recorded discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand was made by Jan Gerrit Bantjes in June 1884, on the farm Vogelstruisfontein, and was followed soon thereafter, in September, by the Struben brothers who uncovered the Confidence Reef on the farm Wilgespruit, near present-day Roodepoort. Meteorite Impact, by W.U. The first of these to be erected was a three-stamp Sandycroft on the Jubilee Mine, which came into operation on 22 April of that year, and by the end of 1887 it had been followed into production by the Wemmer, Ferreira, Salisbury, Wits (Knights), Meyer & Charlton, George Goch, Jumpers, City and Suburban, Geldenhuis Estates, Langlaagte, Robinson and Wolhouter mines. The gold fields of the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa are, by a landslide, the largest single gold producing district in the world. Another find by Pieter Jacob Marais was recorded in 1853 on the Jukskei River, but was subject to similar secrecy. The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (/ v ə t ˈ v ɑː t ə s r ə n t /), is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg.It is more commonly known as Wits University or Wits (/ v ə t s / or / v ɪ t s /).The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. By 1890, a scant four years after the discovery of gold, it had multiplied ten-fold on both the Rand and in Johannesburg. The first crushing battery, consisting of five stamps, had been erected on the Reef in 1885 to service the Struben's excavations on the lower West Rand reef, but this was a small operation, and the first crushing machinery ordered specifically for the new Reef diggings began to arrive from the coast in 1887. Let us know what is happening in your town or city. Soon, even more gold was discovered in what would become the neighboring state of Victoria. Ridge, stretching from Krugersdorp through Kloofendal and the Melville Koppies. Vredefort Dome Central Uplift (Google Earth). The ore was rich and located close to the surface. The existence of the mines was threatened by one immediate and severe drawback: the field was relatively isolated from other urban centres and did not lie on any of the established trade routes. By this time it had been realized that the Reef extended not only to the east and west, but also downwards with persisting values of ore. At the time mineral outputs averaged £1 per oz per ton of rock mined. It is therefore probable, that these pipes still exist, North of the Main Reef, and that there existence was never suspected by early miners, concerned only in mining on the Main Reef series, which dipped South away from the probable pipes. These included seasonal variations, which were not unduly severe, as well as the almost total lack of noxious fauna and flora, most specifically insects and bacteria dangerous to man. Then in 1853 Pieter Jacob Marais discovered gold on the Jukskei River banks but this was also kept secret. The gold mines in this area are situated around an ancient sea (over 2700 million years old) where rivers deposited their sediments in the form of sand and gravel which became the conglomerate containing the gold. In the case of all other gold discoveries made previously in the Transvaal, deposits had invariably proved to have a short working life, so the concentrations of people they stimulated were equally short lived. Much More than a Mafia: Mavericks, Mentors, and Medical Maestros. Some were bigger than others. The discovery of gold rapidly attracted people to the area, making necessary a name and governmental organisation for the area. On 14 September 1886, the first large mining company on the Reef, the Witwatersrand Gold Mining Company, was formed with a total nominal capital of £3,063,000. When the meteor struck, the temperature was raised to thousands of degrees C. This probably caused a double reaction, the dilute sulphuric acid reacting with the iron mud to form Ferrous Oxide and hydrogen. A … This view of how the Witwatersrand gold fields developed held sway until recently, when imagery from space became available. Large-scale gold mining in the Yukon Territory didn’t end until 1966, and by that time the region had yielded some $250 million in gold. The City is built on top of the Johannesburg pipe (The Heritage Portal). If for any reason none appear click here for some troubleshooting tips. With my limited knowledge of chemistry, I presume that: The boiling water coming into contact with the sulphur formed a dilute sulphuric acid and hydrogen gas. Thermal subsidence and associated deposition of the 2.64 to 2.43 Ga Chuniespoort Group led to low-grade burial metamorphism of the Witwatersrand strata, to basin dewatering, oil migration, and partial gold mobilization within the Witwatersrand basin fill. All found gold on the surface, but it petered out at about 30 meters, and almost all dipped towards the South. On the surface, a huge tidal-wave or Tsunami screamed northwards, taking the tops of the volcanic vents, or pipes, with it. As a result, the initial survey and layout of the settlement was made with impermanence in mind. History of Leases The Witwatersrand Basin Project (WBP) comprises two historic mining centres on the Northern Edge of the Witwatersrand Basin in the Central Rand Goldfield immediately southwest of the city of Johannesburg. JHF Virtual Tours will put the spotlight on Witwatersrand and its gold’s discovery. Phillips (1987): Anomalous Gold in Witwatersrand Shales. Iron pyrite and water. Disclaimer: Any views expressed by individuals and organisations are their own and do not in any way represent the views of The Heritage Portal. Mining has been taking place within … New towns were established to accommodate the huge influx of people. Towards a people's history These geysers seemed seasonal. A heavy in-migration of miners followed, and the city of Johannesburg grew near the centre of the Witwatersrand. The South African War of 1899-1901 saw a temporary downturn in Johannesburg's population, partly due to the exodus of the Uitlander [foreigner] community who fled the Reef, and partly to the departure of Dutch residents on commando duty. So over the years the layers built up, one on top of another. Perhaps the most remarkable goldfield on the planet is found in the Witwatersrand district of South Africa. Before long open cast workings were being opened up along the full length of the main reef in the present district of Johannesburg. Does anyone have material on the Holpan Diamond Diggings? Even after it was realised that the gold reef ran both deep and wide, and the introduction in May 1890 of the MacArthur-Forrest cyanide process made recovery of gold excavated at deep levels economically feasible, the general consensus of the time was that Johannesburg's life span would not exceed 25 years. In dry seasons, the waters dried up and sand and dust blew and fell across the lake, or swamps. Reimold and R.L. In 1852, the English prospector J.H. Following their repatriation in 1910, they were replaced on the mines by the introduction of migrant Black labour, much of it recruited from neighbouring territories. There may also have been genuine volcanic lava vents, but at this early stage probably not. It may in fact have been an ice-comet as no remains were found, the ice melting instantly under fantastically high temperatures. 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