America's African heritage; 21 And 22
Why the National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program 21. The fabulous goldmines at Johannesburg Park won. Here is Skip Westfall dressmaking to you today about 2000 feet below the surface of the earth down the roof. Play 9 some 30 miles from Johannesburg South Africa. At this moment we are in the mine cave hunting down the speed of about 30 more and I will be here we have 3000 of them and he will go on down to the dam and about three thousand two hundred feet. Now that's why I've got a pretty fast ride. We stepped off the lift now on are standing on a platform which resembles a subway platform in New York City. Train is waiting here to take us about a mile and a half where we will enter another town to observe the miners as they
dig for gold down here in the bowels of the earth. The train is about ready to start. That was a new experience for me traveling on a train for over a mile 3000 feet below the surface of the earth. The tunnel we have now entered is about 12 feet wide and I say about 10 feet in height. This is the end of an eight hour shift and we can hear the plop plop the shoes on the cement floor. There's a group of miners was just on their way to work in the far end of the tunnel.
Before we proceed further into the tunnel perhaps we should take a few minutes for a brief description of how the miners dig out the gold here at the blue flame mine by doing that where did I pronounce that correctly. That spot on the roof lay. Mr. Charles Barclay an official of the Chamber of Mines that do have this bird is sitting on a bench here with me alongside the tonneau. Mr Barclay would you start us off by giving us something of the story about how the board was first formed here in the joint work area. You know most of us follow have a shot at it. Many geologists believe that this gold was for millions of years ago long long before we ever came on earth. SSN and long before there were any animals like dinosaurs OTEC projectiles or any of those wonderful things. It all happened way way back when there was a great inland sea here in this great inland sea in course of time was a fed by rivers from high mountains
all around it and these rivers broke down under the viel go and this gold was deposited on the shore and also on the bed of this inland sea and pebbles came down and settled with the gold. Then other layers were built from time to time. And that's really how these measures were full. And then there were any Iraqis are critical. There were I believe yes the geologists say that there were many people many many people it was an old resulted in. Slower at the end Nancy being tilted downwards so that the rim was exposed on the surface and way way way down and I suppose you might say that this is softer as you might call it kind of sucks or was kicked by the earthquake in against us it was then and then then the govt started at the top of the earth and signed it on down. That's right to a depth of our old Thousands and thousands of feet more than certainly more
than 10000 feet. Your mines go down to a depth of 10000 feet around Johannesburg they do when who first made the discovery of ago. Well less romantic story too I suppose that A you story goes that in the year 1886 perspective and handyman from Australia named George Harrison. Some say it was it was named George Walker. But anyway Harrison for want of a better name visited a farm of the Woodville Coast hasten Neil Webb Johannes but it now stands. And he was walking on the phone one Sunday when he stumbled over an outcrop of rock and his foot dislodged a piece of that rock which he recognised as possibly being a gold bearing rock. He ran in a very excited laid to the farmhouse and the story is that he borrowed a pen from the widow and then he crushed and hand the gold at the or anyone hand found a line of govt. And I got very excited.
I suppose it became better this way wealthier than they probably should have done but I don't think he did because there's one story that he moved on since John was begad leaving as a mining area he moved on and one story is that he was even Milan in the Newton John's Well that was certainly a tragedy in him into a life of Mr. Harris. It was a home large an area does this go. Barry read cover. From Nigel in the east transfer All right through Johannesburg on to the journey of the Orange Free State. If it's not good enough for didn't know to do with the progress. Country. About how long is that area. That's about 300 miles a lone. Lion go minus a golden home if you like and how many mines out there in the area. Fifty four all together producing go longe go down if erratically you could walk underground for a distance of about how far over the 100 miles you want to go to muster there is some of the mines a hole through which. You might say that this area certainly honeycomb movement. And there are connected
or for. What purpose they are connected. In some cases for ventilation that is in other cases because the properties going one another. You've got that interesting business of a man in theory being able to walk more than a hundred miles on the ground which is some will certainly is a well-known case of an emergency when the mine has to be evacuated. Is it possible for the miners to come up in the adjoining mine. No they wouldn't do that if there wasn't an agency and thank heavens we don't get many of those. If it wasn't an agency they would come. Another challenge on the minds of everyone and at least two shots. Yes some have most have to have gone to have at least two one named John his big hit crown mines have got 17 jobs when our Mr Barclay here in this tunnel. Can we see the Orgreave boom. Yes there it is the next right in front of you then the lift strip here it looks rather rested doesn't it. Well that is a bit of pyrite that oxidizing about 12
inches in width. Would you say it is certainly don't look like the oldest you know but you can see those kind of blues I talked about that day on the for the city that they are millions of years later now in a shaft of booms. From there until the rebuild has been struck what is the next procedure. Well the next procedure is to make a series of tunnels on the ground and when the nine has been developed then mining operations begin. And the men and they begin to drill into them. I go they go into the rock they do. Well the purpose of the drilling then is not to dig out the gold but to drill holes in which the sticks of dynamite are believed one to that with your company. Yes GET IT GET IT Nigella ignite our place. But I guess they blast out the route through with these explosive charges. An hour we see alongside here along this tunnel a kind of a show about a woman about thirty six inches with this footage. That's where the men actually drill into the into the Orcs. That's where they do the work. That's called a stove and I
suppose they must work on their hands and knees there's not much room. Yes what do they have they do they do the job very well to find out if they have need pads since they were out actually and guns and knee pads and course they've got safety zones as well. And sometimes they have to work lying down to yes in some cases they do imagine there's quite a bit of danger involved in this operation. But with the fire that animated them well over mining has that in common it's it's not a job for sissies. It's a he man joe this story. And they were very very hot here. And. They liked the joke. Otherwise they would be doing. Well then what would you say is actually the greatest danger in the global operation. Well the less sometimes full of group man. But as I say that doesn't often happen but that is the name has to do with money I would say well I'm sure Mr. Barker that very few of our American women who wear Golden Gate dreams of gold wedding rings realize that in order to get that for his goat
men must risk their lives at times in digging it from the earth. So what is the actual procedure Mr. Barclay when the explosions are set off. Well the fuse is lit. And. They're long enough to ensure that everyone is in a safe place when the charges go off and the men work or walk out to the mine or the rather they will come to the cage again and raise to the surface while these charges are going off while they're doing that. They've got fresh air in their faces and the fumes from the explosions are. Being carried away in places where nobody is working. So everything is quite safe you know to be sure that they're walking with the fresh air in their faces. Oh yes they go away. They know which way to go. And then then the mine is evacuated after the explosions are set off. Yes let's go the next day. Some. 18 hours or more later they come in again to the same place and the idea there is to get rid of the rock that's been broken by the
judges the day before and move it along the tunnels of the mine the network of tunnels to the bottom of the shaft where the kind of the cage picks up the door and takes it to the surface for the treatment process where you going to extract the gold you've got to extract the gold on the surface of the big chemical metal legible poses. How long actually is there no activity at all on mine. Well those over there are always people in the mine but as far as working parties are concerned there is just one shift each day. One main working shift of eight as each day and I know you were made to mention some mentioned a moment ago. War that is given for bravery. Oh yes one of the one of the popular awards in the safety campaign is given to the African mine work it's called a golden hat minus hat. Which shines with a go to covering the Golden covering not real gold
and these are highly prized by the men who see them from the industry and when they go home to the African territory it is far from the mines they are the center of much attention. These men are truly men I suppose all of the men that work in the mines are looked upon as heroes when they get back to their women from their native villages that they own and thanks Mr. WEST. Well it's true to say that many Africans volunteer for mining come to the landing industry so that they can number one get money to buy cattle with which to buy a wife. And when they've got sufficient money to buy the cattle they get married and the women look upon them as real men and once they have been mining I can understand that it certainly takes a REAL man to do the kind of a job that has to be done here in the mines. Well I take my hat off to you for coming here and looking so fit to the Isle of fondness. Be Real keep fit place you if you can and I would but my knees have been getting a bit weird behavior when we carry on the no how are we permitted to go down into the far end of the
tunnel to watch the drilling operation. Yes you can do that is us. Pick up the story and in about 10 or 15 minutes after we get near enough to record the sound of the group preparing for the explosion. I am aware now of the far end of the tunnel where several burly African Minories are manipulating huge electric drill. Boring into a 12 inch wide reef which contains the go. Was a bit strange was getting to this place. When we first entered the mine wore heavy coats rightly as come to mind where. During an Alaskan winter. But we've long since discarded those here because I neglected to explain at the start that you have to wear special clothes for this trip and it boots coveralls and the safety helmet to protect your head should rock saw
these coveralls I am wearing are now wet with sweat running up the steps and over the rocks lugging this tape recorder is about as strenuous it is handling bales of hay on a very hot day. Back in Iowa it appears that we have come almost to the end of this broadcast period and we have hardly scratched the surface of this exciting gold mine stock will continue next week with the second jacker in our recording from the group play mine in Johannesburg South Africa. I am. This has been programmed 21 of America's African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to Africa. The series is made possible by a grant in aid to radio station w all Iowa State College from the educational television and radio centered production is under the direction of Norman B Cleary. This is Reagan speaking for the National Association of educational
broadcasters. This is the NOAA E.B. Radio Network. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program 20 to the gold mines at Johannesburg. Part two here is Kip Westfall program comes to you today from the flute playing live 30 miles from Johannesburg South Africa. Those of you who heard last week's program will recall a description of our descent into the mine
by means of a night elevated to a depth of three thousand two hundred feet. That's how we travel by underground train for a distance of a mile and a half. Then by foot another half mile into one of the tunnels to observe the mining operation we're now in the far end of the tunnel where several African miners are drilling into a 12 inch wide strip of gold bearing or to prepare for the blasting. Beside me is Mr. Charles Barclay official of the Chamber of Mines who is acting as my guide. I might add too that he's been kind enough to give me a hand with my tape recorder. Well it weighs only 800 pounds a little machine begins to feel pretty heavy when you're climbing up and down the stairs and over jagged rocks sometimes on your hands and knees. I know this man as is true of all mines is certainly ventilated. He gives money hot. This is the first time in my life that I have had the experience of sweating out a Turkish bath 3000 feet below the surface of the earth. Mr. Barkley using to be standing this strenuous activity better than I. Would you take the microphone for a moment and
explain what happens to this bearing or after the blasting his signet lose. Yes Mr. West for the explosive charges up put in the face and this set off and after that the aura is tons floated to the surface. That happens the next day after the fumes from the explosion have been cleared from the mine and the next morning the mine workers come in and they clear away the All they are is taken out by means of us of a winch and a scraper winch. That's right yes and we get a recording of that. Yes you can. You know. What you mean. That was the sound of the winch you just heard. Now that we have seen the winch in operation
we've been able to observe about the entire mining operation if and when you have. Yes underground except the blasting. Yes you can't see that because and that nobody really sees that a tool they were looking at when those charges go off when visitors aren't allowed in the mine during the blast you know enough of that time. Well I'll admit I have no desire to be down here in the mine during that blasting operation. Let's make our way back to the place where we can pick up the train which will take us back to the elevator. We're now back on the platform alongside the railroad tracks. We can see a light up at the far end of that in a moment we'll get a recording of the sound of the approaching train and we'll carry on after we have reached the surface. We're back now at the surface of the mine after a swift ride in the elevator traveling at a speed of
3000 feet a minute faster in fact than any elevator in New York City. We made a trip to the service in absolute darkness so you couldn't see your hand before your face and it was a relief to step out once more into the bright sunshine. You know I can think of a good many jobs Mr. Barkley that I prefer the end of working eight hours every day down in the hot humid tunnels of a gold and you know I think this tape recorder perform very well down here where at some points natural water was dripping from the ceiling. Don't you think so. And this I think is a wonderful machine. And you sometimes have trouble with tape recorders and yes that has happened before today. Well up to this point we've followed the gold bearing or from the depths of the mine up the elevator to the reduction plan. What happens to the ore Now Mr. Barkley on the surface Mr. Westfall day and trying to get the ore to us find that limits as possible they grind it and crush it to the consistency of a woman's face padding.
And then what is the next step after it has been crushed. Then the idea is to dissolve the govt and that is done by adding Cyanide is not the only chemical that is the main chemical in the chemical process yes. That procedure takes place then in what is called the reduction in the reduction found on the set which will make a trip through that. Now you William as you be seeing that good you lead the way and will pick up the recording somewhere along the line. After we have made a tour of the reduction plan. We're standing on a platform about 30 feet. We're looking a number of little to the brim with what appears to be a great night. You wouldn't think by looking this way. Thank you very much. The
different things go with No. No it doesn't look like that. But if there is a goal and it's there it's there you can see it nobody can. What would you get the height of the 25 feet. A guy about 45 feet down into the must be a loner 15 from home. I think they're at 18 did you say there are some 50 gold mines in the guns were there. Yes there are about 54 in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and each of them I suppose and its own plan with 18 or more of these you think yes that would make over a thousand hens would look into doing as we're getting it I think you know Magic better than when you put it in another impressive sight as we stand you're overlooking the mining area. It was huge mountains of dirt from which the group has been removed. That's all useless saying that Gravel isn't it that's the waste that dump over there looks to be at least a mile square. What would you say as to its height 200 feet out. Well there are some I believe three of them that were up to me as one
of the most impressive. It strikes about this one city of Johannesburg with its night pre-cruise cower in the air surrounded by these manmade mountains and I suppose we could say There once was golden in our hills and yes you could say that you were the phones to us and other people about the way how do they transport this cast the cast off from for I don't see any trucks right here they go out to those big dams slimes dams you see by pipes the pipes that lead off the slime and deposit them on the walls of the dams It looks something like a pyramid and then they move the pipes in and out of the as mine is deposit as it gets higher and higher Dave bring the wall nearer and nearer and it becomes thick of that strong. There must be a good many thousands of acres in this area that are covered with nothing but swine. Yes this is the this is the golden in the golden vid got this rando right
now to return again to those camps after the great solution containing the gold leaves the what happens next. And after it leaves those tanks they filter away the barons flying from the gold which is now in solution. And then the guru is needed. You know know the solution. First of all is treated with zinc dust to precipitate to go. Then that settles is a blank line. This next line which is very rich in gold is callous and acid treated and then subsequently at the very end it's melted and poured into. First of all buttons of gold and then those buttons are reheated and poured as bonuses. What are the approximate dimensions of a bullion bar. A billion bar I suppose is about ten and a half inches long by about three and a half to four inches deep and one gold bars worth a good many thousands of
dollars in the years. It's with about twenty eight thousand dollars each bar and they say on the mines if you can lift it with one hand you can take it away with you. But you mustn't believe that twenty eight thousand dollars that's about the price of my farm. Why can I. How often are these go bars shipped out and the shipments take place as you would appreciate under security regulations. That's a top secret doing what you say. Now one of the mind why does the phrase when I noticed a very interesting display in front of the main office was a heap of girl bearing or weighing exactly a ton and on top of it was a piece of wire about three inches long and on the tip of this wire was a small piece of gold about the size of a pea or a kernel of corn. The amount of gold which was obtained from a whole ton of oh yes that's that so Mr. Westfall the average in the industry is to recover from about five tons of all you get an ounce of gold blooms of gold or just one ounce of gold from five tons of oil.
That's about the average of covering so many interesting facts about the room. In business that we just can't begin to cover it on the radio. But one interesting story however we haven't even mentioned uranium which is exactly going on with the goal is that the uranium process is carried out as a second rate process to go to extraction. Actual fact is this is the only area in the world where gold mining or continue in that so it's interesting to note that only a few years ago the uranium which was found in the gold ring or was considered to be used if you had a middle aged girl nuisances. They say I like that expressive metallurgical loosens you know the same things through a cold war and the recent years of the Cold War which they found mixed with the or at the core we the Coppermine the council was considered to be innocent and now its value is found that a couple. Where we could go on talking here for another hour without exhausting. It's fascinating study but there is one of the phases of the gold mining story in which we must include a visit to one of the come ons to visit or rather to witness and
they didn't. Yes then they downs every weekend and they really enjoyed themselves day and dance at home when they come down to the nines day and up dancing and they continue to do that rather than I'm sure it'll be most interesting to me. Well I want to thank you Mr. Bartlett for the time you've given me today and you've spent the entire evening with me on this tour which included an 80 mile trip out here from Johannesburg to turn in your car. The Chamber of Mines of the noise cooperated in helping me to get this story and I'm very grateful Mr. WEST Well it has been a great pleasure to meet you and to you and I hope one day we'll meet again. And they're always happy to help any way to get on. Thanks very much. So will be returning now to Johannesburg. Our program will be concluded on Sunday morning at the Consolidated main reef mine about 10 miles west of Johannesburg. 0. 0 0 0. 0. 0 0. 0 0. 0 0.
0 and. Every Sunday morning several hundred gold miners staged a demonstration needed. And one of the mining done by finance of this morning are being presented at the east compound of the Consolidated nine read with answers you now hear about 50 of them are currently dressed in leopard skins and ostrich feathers and. They're wearing a kind of rubber boot as they go into their dance than a slap their boot with their hands in a rhythmic beat. This has been programmed 22 of America's African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by a world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to
Africa. The series is made possible by a grant in aid to radio station w all Iowa State College from the Educational Television and Radio Center. Production is under the direction of Norman B Clary. This is Reg easy speaking for the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
- America's African heritage
- Episode Number
- 21 And 22
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4903 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “America's African heritage; 21 And 22.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-sn01421k>.
- APA: America's African heritage; 21 And 22. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-sn01421k