Modern South African history records that gold was
first discovered on the Witw atersrand in 1834 w hen Carel Kruger
apparently discovered gold during a hunting expedition to the
interior, and took samples back to Cape Tow n. A more reliable
account is the discovery of gold in 1852 on the farm Paardekraal (now
Krugersdorp), by English mineralogist John Henry Davis. Many believe
that the subsequent discovery of gold in 1886 by the Australian
digger, George Harrison, that opened up the Witw atersrand gold
fields as w e know them today, w as from the very same ground
prospected by Davis.
The first gold w as found in the form of nuggets or
veins and w as recovered fairly easily by hand. The discovery of
larger- cale alluvial deposits w ith fine gold grains required
concentration of the material before handling. Where gold occured in
conglomerates, some form of milling w as necessary to separate the
gold prior to concentration using strakes and vanners.
Amalgamation had declined
steadily and attempts to improve recovery using chlorination proved
costly and ineffective. When the first commercial cyanidation plant w
as established in 1890, 75% of the gold contained in amalgamation
tailings w as recovered, resulting in an overall recovery (by
amalgamation and cyanidation) of nearly 90%.
crude amalgamation had
recovered less than 60% of gold from the sulphide ores
encountered underground. The introduction of frue vanners and corduroy
strakes produced a concentrate from which gold w as recovered by
roasting and chlorinating. This process achieved an overall
recovery rate of 74%.
Global demand for gold
exceeds supply by over 1,000 tons per year. Central banks have made up
the shortfall — and have helped suppress the price of gold — by
selling or loaning thousands of tons of their gold reserves.
a shortage of gold coins is
already developing. U.S. $20 double eagles are in very short supply.
Sophisticated investors are quietly acquiring millions of dollars
worth of non-reportable gold coins. When the crowd comes rushing in,
supplies of these coins will evaporate and prices will skyrocket.
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