What is the deepest mine
The deepest mine on earth
(hp) In South Africa in the mining area Western Deep Levels (translated: western civil engineering floors) there are three mines that are the deepest in the world with a depth of up to 4,000 meters. Depth is a technical term from mining and the word for the depth of a mine, measured from the surface of the earth on which the mine is located to its deepest point.
The deepest of the three mines and thus the deepest in the world bears the name Mponeng, which means “look at me” in the local language Sesotho, which is spoken there.
This mine is excavated for gold and is owned by the Anglo-Gold Ashanti mining company, the third largest gold producer in the world.
The gold-bearing rock is currently being mined there in depths of around 2,800 to 3,400 meters - an unbelievable 5,400 tons are extracted every single day.
Studies have shown that the gold content of the rock down to a depth of 5,000 meters is still so high that mining is worthwhile. In the future, it is therefore to be expected that the mine will be sunk to this depth, i.e. that it will be built even deeper.
Working at such a depth places extreme demands on the miners, the machines and the construction of the shafts and tunnels.
The miners have to go down the shafts in elevators for up to two hours and later drive them through the tunnels until they have reached their workplace at a depth of almost 4,000 meters.
Ordinarily it would be impossible for people to work down here. Because the rock at such a depth is over 60 degrees Celsius, and if you only touched it for a few seconds, you would have been badly burned on it.
The air down here is of course similarly hot - and the humidity is almost 100 percent. A person could not survive such conditions for very long - let alone do heavy physical work.
In order to cool the tunnels down to a bearable level, a kind of liquid ice slush is pumped into the tunnels with great technical effort. This makes it possible to reduce the temperature to just under 30 degrees Celsius.
The load on the tunnel walls and ceilings is so great at this depth that they have to be clad all around with reinforced concrete so that they do not collapse.
Despite these extremely harsh environmental conditions due to heat and pressure, there is life in the rock at this incredible depth. Scientists actually found living bacteria in the salty water, which is over 60 degrees Celsius and gushes out of the rock walls as groundwater.
The researchers estimate that this water was no longer in contact with the surface for around 20 million years - and with it the bacteria that live in it.
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