Palabora Mining Company
21.07.2008 - 22.07.2008 24 °C
We think a few roos at the mine is pretty common, these guys get lions and elephants in the car park.
Palabora Mining Company is home to perhaps the largest man made hole in the southern hemisphere, its opencast copper mine. At roughly 2km in diameter, this circular pit is close to 800m deep. Gaining a true appreciation of it's size is hard as there's not much to provide scale. From the photo you can see the shaft head gear in the background which is over 100m high. The benches in the pit are 15m and 30m high which gives some indication also. The photo is taken from the top of one of the mine's spoil dumps that is now a tourist lookout. The pit is no longer being mined as mining relocated underground several years ago to carry on with a block cave operation below the pit. Partially as a result a significant failure of the pit has occured which can be seen in on of the photos. Consequently there is an intense monitoring program of the pit to ensure that any movement is detected and assessed. To do this the mine uses a combination of GNSS recievers, tilt metres, prism monitoring using total station observations to fixed points on structures and trig pillars and photogrametry using a hand held camera and inhouse software will soon be introduced.
The mine borders the Kruger National Park and a trip here is nearly as good as the park, with Elephant, hippo, giraffe, crocodile, lion and many others regularly roaming the site or taking up residency in one of the catchment dams. Baboons are a common pest in the rubbish bins. Safety alerts are regularly circulated advising the location of lions around the mine.