Mankind’s constant drive for resources has influenced our desire to dig deeper and deeper mines. The fact that humans have dared to venture so deep into the Earth’s crust is, on its own, a noble achievement.
However, among the many mines that have been developed in the search for gold, metals, and other resources, there are those that have achieved so great a depth that they have gained the reputation of being among the deepest in the world. According to an article in Mining Global, South Africa is the place to find these record-breaking operations.
Among the names that have gained the right to be called the deepest underground mines are TauTona Gold Mine, Mponeng Gold Mine, and Savuka Gold Mine. Each of these mines descend into depths greater than a mile underground, but the distinction of being the deepest belongs to just one:
The title for the deepest underground mine belongs to Mponeng. As the deepest manmade hole on earth, the depth of Mponeng is almost mystical. If you measured from the bottom of the mine to the surface you could stack 10 Empire State Buildings on top of each other. Mponeng is another underground mine owned and operated by AngloGold Ashanti.
The article doesn’t list Mponeng’s exact depth; however, according to Wikipedia, it extends over 3.8 kilometers below the surface. With so much dirt between its bottom and the outside world, many wonder just how the legions of miners that work its depths disappear and emerge into and out of its abysmal depths. The answer is, of course, dependable mine cages.
The mine cage has been around for quite some time, having evolved from simple human-powered, pulley-driven wooden boxes used to ferry miners in mine shafts of the days of old. With each evolution, the development of superior mine personnel cages has increased the depths at which man can safely mine.
At one time, steam-powered cages could only descend several hundred yards before the trips up and down became uneconomical. Today, however, newer and better conveyance systems driven by innovators like Wabi Iron & Steel continue to be manufactured and they push the limit of how deep underground men can safely go.
(Source: [SLIDESHOW] The Deepest Underground Mines in the World, Mining Global, August 19, 2014)