Charley Boorman Log- Day 36

July 19, 2012

IMG_0009In which Charley and the team visit a second mine.

Two days travel from Johannesburg finds us in the Northern Cape Province, best known for hosting the South African region of the Kalahari Desert and for its enormous mining operations.

We’ll be seeing a bit of both, with the mining coming first. We stop in the town of Kimberly to see the town’s famous Big Hole (I wonder how long it took to come up with the name?) Now flooded, it’s the worlds largest man-made hole in the ground – and what else but diamonds could motivate people to dig so deep? They pulled almost 3 metric tonnes out of this diamond mine before they closed it in 1914.

IMG_0021And from one big hole to another, in the afternoon we arrive at the Sishen Iron Mine. This giant open pit is one of the busiest mines in the world, and while we’re interested in the process of digging this heavy ore out of the ground, what we’re really here to see are their massive, massive trucks.

These big machines transport 300 tons of ore at a time, running 24/7, every day of the year. They tower over you, taller than a large house with wheels twice the height of an average man. We’re driven around the mine in a standard size-car and despite a plethora of safety equipment on board, it’s still intimidating to be sharing the road with these mechanical monsters that could flatten our vehicle and barely even notice.

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