Exploiting the lithosphere or earth’s crust. Early man. Stone age: 1.6 million to 2000 years ago people in SA made stone implements – choppers, hand axes & scrapers. Iron Age: 2000 – 500 years ago people in SA were mainly farmers – cattle, sheep, goats & planting seeds.
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Exploiting the lithosphere or earth’s crust
Stone age: 1.6 million to 2000 years ago people in SA made stone implements – choppers, hand axes & scrapers.
Iron Age: 2000 – 500 years ago people in SA were mainly farmers – cattle, sheep, goats & planting seeds.
Gold was originally found in riverbeds in Limpopo 1000 years ago & was traded with ivory to China, India & Egypt.
Discovery of gold in Limpopo
Elements are usually found in the form of gases in the atmoshpere and in the form of ores of the various substances, in the Earth’s crust.
Ores are mined and then the various elements extracted.
Seldom are these elements in pure state.
Most often they are in the forms of the various ores compounds & minerals i.e. metal oxides, nitrates, carbonates etc.
These need to be extracted by chemical means.
Elements from the ground
Gold fom our mine dumps
Indication of mineral distribution in Southern Africa.
Mining is a very important source of income in SA.
However, people must not be exploited in this industry.
Besides these elements, diamonds, platinum & uranium are also mined in these areas.
Note how most of the minerals are found in the North & North Eastern parts of SA.
SA gold production has decreased from 68% of world’s gold in 1970 to only 8% in 2009.
In general, rocks containing the minerals & ores must be extracted from the mines, crushed and then often chemically extracted from the crushed rocks.
You can elect to study any one of the following major SA mining industries:
Gold, iron, phosphate, coal, diamond, copper, platinum, zinc, chrome, asbestos & manganese.
Gold mining in SA
Platinum Diamonds Gold Coal
The gold industry has been one of the most important industries in SA since alluvial gold was first found in riverbeds and streams at Langlaagte farm in 1886.
After that, deep, underground mines were started and developed in Gauteng & the Free State.
Gold bars or bullion
Quartz, granite & gold in rocks
Extracting and producing gold
Gold coins – printed by the SA Mint – often to commemorate important occasions.
Making a gold bar
A very important process in SA mining.
4Au + 8Na(CN)2 + 2H2O + O2→ 4NaAu(CN)2 + 4NaOH
Recovery by precipitation method:
Zn + 2NaAu(CN)2 → 2Au + Zn (CN)2 + 2NaCN
These days, mines use activated carbon smelting.
PGMs in SA
SA produces 94% of the world’s Pt – mainly in the Rustenburg area. Pt is used for jewellery, motor vehicle exhausts & for technology.
Air pollution - chemical processing
Dust from mine dumps
Acid water pollution
Air pollution from burning coal for the generation of electrical power in SA.
The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil, petrol & gas, releases incredible amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere & many scientists believe this will lead to global warming.
Pollution from mining
Pollution is already a problem in South Africa and it is set to become an even bigger problem – unless we seriously do something about it – NOW!
Research and write an essay on current pollution and possible future pollution and its effect in our country.