Eldorado

  Since the discovery of gold, human beings have been fascinated by it. One of the reasons is that gold is rare, and the world’s current total mining volume is only 100,000 tons; moreover, gold remains unchanged forever, neither eroding nor losing its brilliance.
  Therefore, gold has always been loved by emperors and is also a symbol of wealth. Since gold is related to unimaginable huge wealth, of course it will occupy an important position in reality and the story, and it is also covered in mythology. The legend about Eldorado Eldorado is the most attractive. According to legend, even the cooking utensils there are made of gold, attracting generations of explorers to South America to find them. For more than four hundred years, adventurers Traveling through the mountains and jungles of South America to search for the legendary Eldorado Eldorado was all in vain, because there has never been this place. However, the attractiveness of the story about this precious place remains undiminished.
  Like most myths, Eldorado has some factual basis, and the dates back to it are quite accurate. There really is an Eldorado in the world, similar to the legendary Eldorado in South America. So far, more than 35,000 tons of gold have been produced there, and gold mines are still inexhaustible. This special place is called the “Golden Crescent” and forms a broad arc on the east and southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, stretching for about three hundred miles. Three quarters of the world’s annual gold production comes from here. According to the official gold price set in 1971, the total value of gold produced here exceeds 47 billion U.S. dollars, and there are still hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold that have not been mined. Before 1886, people could not even dream that there would be such a big treasure in the world.
  After Columbus discovered the New World in 1493 and returned home, he claimed to have seen a wealth of gold there. Since then, he has set off a gold-seeking craze in Europe. In 50 years, the Spanish conquerors looted the vast amounts of gold collected by the Aztecs and Peruvian Indians. In Europe, anyone who witnesses ships loaded with gold products, gold ingots (many of which are melted into gold ingots before shipment), and gems unloading cargo will be convinced that the New World contains a lot of wealth, which is left to them.
  There are stories of conquerors making windfalls. For example, in 1530, Pizarro kidnapped the Inca Emperor Ata Valber, extorting a room of gold and silver for ransom, and finally got what he wanted. In 1539, the Spaniards invaded the territory of the Muisca and established the city of Bogotá. They heard that there was a ceremony for the succession of Muisca’s new emperor to the north of Lake Guatavita. Some people also said that they had seen the last ceremony. People are still alive. The ceremony was held at dawn so that the new emperor and his entourage could make sacrifices to the sun god. At the prescribed moment, the new emperor was naked and covered with gold powder, becoming a veritable golden man (Eldorado). He boarded the raft, and his servants placed gold emeralds at his feet to offer him to the sun god. The four patriarchs who were naked but did not wear golden crowns, bracelets and jewels each held the sacrifices and rode with the emperor to the middle of the lake on a raft, then raised the flags to show silence, and finally threw the sacrifices into the lake.
  The Spaniards coveted so many treasures at their fingertips. In 1545, someone had digging in Lake Guatavita, but nothing was found. The Spaniards were not discouraged. In 1580, the Bogotá businessman Sepulveda ordered 8,000 Indians to drain the lake. He ordered a large ditch that can be seen today to be dug on the shore of the lake and drained into the ditch, causing the water level to drop by about 18 meters, causing the dyke to burst and drowning a large number of laborers. However, this businessman was also a bit rewarded. He dug a pair of golden breast armor and emeralds as big as an egg from the lake, which he dedicated to the King of Spain. A century later, the story of Eldorado has been passed down from generation to generation and has changed. The location was also changed, first in the lower Onoko River, and later in the Amazon, two thousand and four hundred kilometers away from Lake Guatavita. British Raleigh Fawcett, Spaniards Dequesada, Debirashaza, and German Federman have all searched for this golden city.
  After 1799, the gold-seeking craze resumed, and Guata Vita Lake became the focus of activities, but they all returned without success. At that time, Prussian Von Hambold led a group of scientists and spent 18 months searching along the Orinoco River. A section of this river flows along the border between Colombia and Venezuela and penetrates into the mountainous area that caused the legend. Reports about Lake Guatavita set off a new wave of expeditions. In 1807, Von Hambold returned to the lake and claimed that there were 500,000 gold ornaments hidden at the bottom of the lake, and the search began again.
  The large quantities of gold jewellery thrown into the lake when the “Golden Man” took over the throne ceremony was probably already in the Spanish treasury in the 16th century. The lake was drained for the last time in 1912, but only a few small gold ornaments were found, which could not cover the cost of drainage. At that time, those who searched for Eldorado were doomed to fail, because there had never been an Eldorado in the world.
  The countryside of Johannesburg is full of undulating savanna. According to the interpretation of geologists, about 2.6 billion years ago, this place was originally an inland sea surrounded by mountains, with several turbulent rivers flowing into it. The river water eroded the gold-bearing gravel in the adjacent mountainous area, bringing minerals in the water to the lakeshore, where it then deposited. The separation of the river water causes the gold-bearing gravel to be deposited first, and then to the lighter sediment. After hundreds of millions of years, the sediment slowly compressed into rock. During volcanic activity, hundreds of feet of lava poured on these sedimentary rocks. Then there was a rainy period, and the rising river water brought more gold-bearing sediments into the ancient basin and deposited a new layer on the lava. After this process was repeated several times, a stratum sandwich cake was created, with narrow gold-bearing “veins” sandwiched between lava and sedimentary rock layers, ranging in thickness from 1 inch to 20 feet. During the relatively recent period of the earth’s history, strong seismic activity occurred in this area, which uplifted, distorted, and fractured the rocks of gold-bearing veins; one part rose by 300 feet, and the other part sank up to 500 feet. When mining a gold mine today, the progress was going very well, but the veins would suddenly be interrupted, and that’s why.
  Until the late 19th century, most of the world’s gold was produced in California, USA and New South Wales, Australia. Large gold mines were discovered in 1849 and 1851. In March 1886, five miles away from the settlement that is today called Johannesburg, a widow farm owner hired two temporary workers, Harrison and Walker, to expand her house. Although no one knows what happened, they may find something arousing curiosity when they dug the foundation stone of a house on an outcrop rock, so they knocked a rock to pieces, took it to wash, and found gold! These two unknown men discovered the largest gold vein in history, which caused a gold rush. Harrison sold his ownership for fifty dollars and ran into the hinterland to continue exploring. It is said that he was eaten by a lion. Walker sold the ownership for $1,500, but in 1924 he died in poverty. The people who work there today are very different from the old days of gold prospectors, who rode donkeys, hold chisels and shovels. They are all highly educated geologists, geophysicists, and mining engineers. They have a group of companies. Family support, with millions of dollars in funding. If they think that a certain area is rich in reserves, core drilling is conducted. This project is expensive, and it costs 200,000 US dollars to drill a single hole. If the drilled core samples show that it is economical to mine veins, the mine will be excavated.
  The new mine, the “West Deep Tunnel”, is located 43 miles west of Johannesburg. This is one of the largest ventures in history to invest in gold mining. It is estimated that it can be mined for 60 years, and the output is worth up to 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, enough for the treasury of a large country. This huge enterprise began to excavate mines in 1958, employing 15,000 workers. This mining project is very large. After completion, the pit is 12,500 feet deep underground, which is deeper than the gold mines previously mined. About 260 million gallons of water are pumped from the aquifer every day, and for every ton of rock mined out of the ground, several times more air must be pumped back into the ground. Heat has always been a big obstacle to deep mines. Under the ground, the temperature will increase by about 1°F for every 180 feet of drop. This proves that there is a huge pressure of rock cladding deep inside the earth and the heating effect of radioisotopes. At a depth of 12,500 feet underground, the temperature of the rock rose to 135°F. Because it is necessary to continuously sprinkle water on the rocks to prevent the deadly dust from clogging the lungs from flying everywhere, the humidity inside is extremely unbearable. In order to solve this problem, an air conditioning system was installed in the west deep tunnel. Its cooling energy is five times that of the air conditioning system of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It can keep the maximum temperature of the mine at 85°F, which is barely tolerable. To visit this mine, you must first go down in a three-tiered “cage”. The cage can hold 120 people at a time and will drop 3000 feet per minute. Such a decline seems to fall into a bottomless abyss, deafening and palpitating. The cage finally slowed down and then stopped. At this time, it was 6600 feet underground. Change to another cage here and descend to 10,000 feet. The inclined shaft starts here and reaches 11,400 feet. Then there is another shaft, reaching 12,500 feet.
  The mine is currently being dug into a “carbon vein”, a layer that is usually not thicker than two feet. Carbon veins are one of the richest gold deposits. Most gold-bearing ores are just like gray rocks. No gold can be seen on the outside, but the carbon veins are different, and gold grains are often seen. To mine this thin deposit, one must drill 36 feet of useless rock, blast the rock, and then remove the gravel. For every ounce of gold, about two tons of stones must be transported to the ground. How to pick out such a small amount of gold from the pile of stones?
  First, the ore is crushed into talc powder, and the cyanide solution is added. Cyanide dissolves the gold, and the gold flows away with the solution. Then through complex chemical and filtration procedures, gold is extracted from the cyanide solution. Many gold deposits are also rich in uranium. In this case, after extracting the gold, the remaining residue is sent to the uranium extraction plant.
  Since South Africa’s first uranium refinery was established in 1952, it has produced more than one billion U.S. dollars worth of uranium oxide. After the minerals are extracted, the remaining waste (the powder stone solution) is poured into an area of ​​100 acres or more. After the powder stone waste layer dries up, a trapezoidal retaining wall is built, and another layer of waste material is laid. Adding layer by layer like this, gradually build a big mound, like a pyramid. Recently, mining companies have started planting vegetation on the waste dumps, adding a lot of green hills to the flat Transval Plain. The purity of gold produced by the gold mine refinery is approximately 89%. The final refining process is carried out in the Rand Alchemy. The factory is located on the outskirts of Cheumiston. There is a brilliant stream of molten gold in the factory, which is poured from a crucible into a 400-ounce mold day and night, with a purity of 99.6%. In recent years, the annual output has exceeded 100 million US dollars. Dealing with such precious products is not to be wasted, so experts use electric dust collectors to extract gold from the exhaust gas. The old crucible was also crushed, and the floor of the old refinery and even the clothing of the workers were specially treated to extract the gold contained in it. The product of the RAND Alchemy is gold ingots, weighing twenty-five pounds, packed in small slatted wooden boxes like shoe boxes. Two yuan per box. These boxes are regularly shipped to the South African Reserve Bank and then to the London Gold Market. In the end, gold was bought either by central banks of various countries or by merchants. In addition to manufacturing gold jewelry and inlays, gold also has industrial uses. Governments of various countries buy gold mined from deep underground in order to put them in underground vaults, which seems to be ridiculous. Traditionally, the stability of the national currency depends on gold. International currency experts have yet to discover anything more convenient than gold, which can be used as a common standard for the value of currencies in various countries. As long as this situation remains the same, humans will continue to search for gold in depth.

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