News / South Africa / Local News

Zimasa Mgwili
2 minute read
6 Jun 2019
10:10 am

Harding residents refuse to accept report that rocks do not contain gold

Zimasa Mgwili

The KZN community rejected a report confirming there was no economic gold in either the quarry or its surroundings.

Iron pyrite is often mistaken for gold. File image: iStock

KwaMachi community members in Harding, KwaZulu-Natal have refused to accept that samples found in a quarry nearby are not gold, reports South Coast Herald.

The community claims that the findings by the Council for Geosciences (CGS) are “fake” and are “informed by jealousy”.

GGS announced last Thursday there was no economic gold in either the quarry or its surroundings, months after rocks which appeared to bear traces of the precious mineral had caused a “gold rush” in the area.

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In May last year, hundreds of people flocked to the quarry hoping to find gold.

Small pieces of rock said to contain the precious metal were being sold at the time for around R40.

With thousands flocking to the site, people were being injured, forcing police to fence off the area.

Security guards were deployed to restrict access to the quarry while Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe ordered an investigation.

Following a lengthy process, the CGS said the geology of the Harding area, which is mostly of the Karoo Supergroup, was not a suitable geological setting for gold.

GGS marketing and communications manager Mahlatse Monomela said all concentrations were significantly low and within normal values in the rocks.

“Laboratory results found that the gold, platinum, or palladium in the quarry is not economically viable,” he said.

The council explained that mineral sulphides such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, pentlandite, cobalite, sphalerite, and galena occured in the quarry and that pyrite and chalcopyrite had similar appearances to gold and could easily be mistaken for this precious metal.

Monomela said rock samples were collected from the quarry and analysed at Mintek laboratory, in Johannesburg.

“The 150m by 150m quarry was used primarily as a source of aggregate 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 further investigations,” said Mr Monomela.

However, the community rejected the report, saying they believed the department of mineral resources was not being truthful.

Nokubonga Machi said she and her family would still keep their rocks regardless of the results from CGS.

“I’m very disappointed because we thought this would create new employment opportunities for our community, but I refuse to believe what these people are telling us.”

Department of mineral resources head Ayanda Shezi said if the community wished to have an independent team to confirm the findings, they were welcome to do so.

“The sample area was widened to include the quarry and its surroundings, which allowed for a comprehensive conclusion on the accuracy of the claims of the community on the presence of gold,” he added.

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