ODWA Mbuyeni shows off a small rock he believes contains gold he mined from a site at Mbuthumeni. Photo: GCINA NDWALANE AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA).
Durban - Residents of KwaMachi, in Harding, south of Durban, have refused to accept that the samples discovered in Inhlanzeni last year are not gold. The Council for Geosciences (CGS) released a report this week confirming its original findings.

Mahlatse Mononela, marketing and communication manager at the Council, said the geology of the Harding area, which is mostly of the Karoo Supergroup (shale and dolerite), was not a suitable geological setting for gold.

“The laboratory results found that the gold, platinum or palladium in the quarry and its surroundings is very low, meaning it is not economically viable.

“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 this precious metal.”

He said for its first investigation, rock samples were collected from the quarry and analysed at the Mintek Laboratory in Johannesburg.

“The 150m by 150m quarry was used primarily as a source of aggregates for improving the condition of the local roads. Although the first set of results showed that the quarry did not contain gold, the CGS decided to conduct more investigations,” he said

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

However, the community has rejected this and has dubbed the findings as the “Jealous Report”.

Ayanda Shezi, head of communications for the Department of Mineral Resources, said should the community wish to have an independent team confirm the findings by the CGS, they could.

Shezi, however, said the CGS undertook a thorough study on this issue and its report is conclusive: “Fifteen years ago, the department took a similar study in Harding, which reached the same conclusion.”

Sunday Tribune