World’s deepest mine -Tau Tona mine, South Africa.

The mine is one of the three Western Deep Levels mines of the West Wits gold field west of Johannesburg. The mine was originally built by the Anglo American Cooperation with its 2 km deep main shaft being sunk in 1957. The name TauTona means “great lion” in the Setswana Language.  The mine began operation in 1962. It is one of the most efficient mines in South Africa and remains in continuous operation even during periods when the price of gold is low. Since its construction two secondary shafts have been added bringing the mine to its current depth. The mine today has some 800 kilometers of tunnels and employs some 5,600 miners. The mine is a dangerous place to work and an average of five miners die in accidents each year. The mine is so deep that temperatures in the mine can rise to life threatening levels. Air conditioning equipment is used to cool the mine from 55 °C (131 °F) down to a more tolerable 28 °C (82.4 °F). The rock face temperature currently reaches 60 °C (140 °F).

By 2008, the mine reached some 3.9 km underground. This made it the deepest mine in the world, surpassing the 3,585 m deep East Rand Mine by a considerable margin. This new shaft extended the depth from its previous 3.6 km, and will extend the mine’s life to 2015.  The journey to the rock face can take 1 hour from surface level. The lift cage that transports the workers from the surface to the bottom travels at 16 meters per second (58 km/h).

The mine has also been featured on the Megastructures program produced by National Geographic.

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One Response to “World’s deepest mine -Tau Tona mine, South Africa.”

  1. This post is interesting.

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