Each week Jakesprinters suggests a theme for creative inspiration. This week’s prompt is: Nature
Mine Dumps in Johannesburg
Mankind has often extracted what they find to be precious from Nature. Men have dug underground for the shiny material they call gold. Fights have begun over a stake or piece of land; groups of people have been exploited for the chance to be wealthy. In searching for the yellowish material, earth has been removed from underground and laid to rest on top of the land. These gold mine dumps have become a feature of Johannesburg, the city founded during the gold rush on the Reef.
The Reef of Johannesburg has been littered with mine dumps for decades. Made up of crushed rock that still contain traces of gold in them (at the time of dumping, these bits of gold could not be extracted), these “yellow mountains” were a part of the scenery when I was growing up. The yellowish, cream colour of the fine sand has been covered by vegetation to help prevent the fine dust from polluting the cities, towns and suburbs that surround them. Grass, shrubs and eucalyptus trees cover the ground that originally comes from the underground as nature tries to camouflage the unusual sight and shape of man’s creation.
As you ride along the freeway, the following is a common sight:
Even though grasses have been planted on the dumps, one is still able to see the golden-coloured sand below:
Nature has tried to reclaim what was once its own. Trees and shrubs can be seen growing on these mine dumps:
Though nature is still not able to take it back fully:
Soon, however, many of these landmark dumps will all disappear – many already are a thing of the past – as a way to extract the fine gold particles from the sand has been found. As long as the price of gold is high, treating the sand that forms the dumps will be a viable proposition; and man will continue to sift through nature so that people can wear gold jewellery.
The land on which the former gold mine dumps were found, will now be sold to create homes for people. Instead of the golden heaps characterising the Reef, urban sprawl will now take over.
What do you think of the removal of Johannesburg’s landmark mine dumps?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012