Gold Mining Exploits

GCRO Research Project
with Kerry Bobbins

Read the journal article here

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The following extract and accompanying images comprise a journal article published in UPenn Design’s Scenarios Journal in 2015:

“Few landscapes have seen mining activity on the scale at which it occurs in South Africa’s Gauteng City-Region (GCR). The majority of the GCR falls into the Gauteng Province, the most densely populated province of South Africa, supporting an estimated 12.2 million individuals. The GCR is composed of a cluster of cities, towns, and urban nodes including Johannesburg and Pretoria. The GCR is also the site of the largest and deepest gold resources in the world, a natural asset that has enabled the city-region to become South Africa’s foremost economic engine. From 1970 onwards, gold mining in the GCR rapidly declined, and a shift to a service-oriented economy occurred. Gold mining still happens in Gauteng, and the province is home to the world’s two deepest mines, the Mponeng and TauTona gold mines owned by AngloGold Ashanti, that extend to depths of almost 4km below ground. Diamond, coal and platinum mining still takes place in the greater GCR.

Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and one of Africa’s leading urban economies. Situated at the heart of Gauteng, the ‘City of Gold’ has only existed since 1886, when gold was first discovered there. The city’s development was remarkable. Gold was initially found along a rocky outcrop, called the Witwatersrand (‘the ridge of white waters’) that extends in an east-west direction across the central GCR, also known as the ‘Rand’. The discovery of the world’s largest gold deposit attracted prospectors from all over the world and, within a matter of months, transformed the farmlands and open grass plains that fell along the Rand into a bustling mining town. From the outset, mining activity took place at a rapid rate. Financed by capital from the then declining Kimberly diamond fields, and other circuits of colonial capital, mining on the Rand not only extracted significant wealth from the ground but also instilled deep socio-economic and class divides…”