No gold to be found in the KwaMachi area

By SAKHISENI NXUMALO Time of article published Jun 4, 2019

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The community of KwaMachi, near Harding on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, say they are disappointed after the Council for Geoscience (CGS) issued a report stating that the rocks found on a site in the area did not contain gold.

The CGS presented their results to the community last Thursday, several months after the shiny rocks had caused a “gold rush” in the area, with people flocking to the site.

In May last year, police had to be deployed to the rural village to restrict access to the quarry.

Economic Geology and Geochemistry manager Sibongiseni Hlatshwayo said samples of stones taken from the quarry showed no signs of gold.

The report dashed hopes of a budding new industry in the area. At the time of the “gold rush”, small pieces of rock were being sold at varying prices, starting from about R50.

ODWA Mbuyeni shows off a small rock he believes contains gold he mined from a site at Mbuthumeni. GCINA NDWALANE AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

When people were injured during a rockfall at the site, it was fenced off and security guards were deployed to guard the quarry.

Member of the community committee Tony Mbuthuma said the community was not happy with the report.

He said that the community wanted to get their own geologists to inspect the “gold”.

“After the report was brought to our attention, the community had a lot of questions that they asked the CGS member and they didn’t get any responses. One of them is why is that area still fenced off with security guards?” asked Mbuthuma.

Mbuthuma also said the community was hoping that the discovery of gold would lead to job opportunities in the area.

“A lot of people are not employed in this area. We were hopeful that the mine would be built, people will be compensated for the land and job opportunities will be created in the area,” he said.

Explaining how the investigation had taken place, Hlatshwayo said their team of scientists took stone samples from the Harding quarry to Pretoria, for verification, in June last year.

He said that after thorough examination processes were followed, results showed no gold present.

He said that 21 stones were also taken from the quarry and from nearby rivers for verification in October.

“Soil was also taken. The community assisted when taking samples. The second findings showed no gold,” said Hlathswayo.

According to the report, the geology of the Harding area, which is mostly of the Karoo Supergroup, is not a suitable geological setting for gold.

The report also states that mineral sulphides such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, pentlandite, cobalite, sphalerite and galena occur in the quarry. Pyrite and chalcopyrite have similar appearances to gold and can easily be mistaken for the precious metal.

Hlathswayo said based on the analytical data presented in the report, the following conclusions can be made: “There is no economic gold present, both in the quarry and its surroundings.”

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