Charley Boorman Log- Day 26

July 6, 2012

In which Charley investigates the Tiger Trap and Agnes Gold Mines.IMG_7650

After another long ride, we find ourselves in Barberton, a goldrush town with a long history that’s written all over the colonial buildings that can still be seen around town.

The area is still a good source of gold, although modern methods are needed to get at it. Today, we’re visiting the Tiger Trap and Agnes Gold Mines. Partially flooded, Tiger Trap has been closed since the mid-2000’s an now serves as visitor attraction. It’s full of atmosphere in the dark, muddy tunnels and well worth a look. While I’m here, I meet Danny Brink, a gold prospector who relay looks the part with his long beard and suntanned skin. He talks me through gold-panning (without any success) in the creek near the mine.

Then it’s time to see the way it’s done these days, with a trip few kilometers into the mountain itself and the Agnes Mine. We ride the tiny train that ferries the miners to their work and train-buff Russ could not be happier. After a 20 minute ride through the darkness, we arrive. It’s dark, hot, wet and thanks the machinery, very loud in here.

The process of mining is fairly simple – the gold-rich rock walls are drilled with holes and the holes are filled with explosives. The explosives are detonated and the shattered rock is sent to the surface for processing. We were lucky enough to be shown a wall being blown up while we were down there. Form a safe distance, we felt the concussion wave shake our bodies while a thunder-like rumble roared down the dark tunnels. I know one thing for certain, and that’s that I wouldn’t ever want to get used to that sound, and I’d never want to hear it up close.

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