Gold has been mined in many different locations all around the world from the Americas, to Europe and Asia.
However the busiest of all gold reserve locations; an estimated 55% of all the world’s gold has been mined from the Witwatersrand Basin located on top of the Kaapvaal craton in South Africa.
Since it was discovered that an incredibly high yield of gold was deposited in Witwatersrand, it triggered an intense gold rush in 1886. Like many diamond discoveries before, the gold rush caused thousands of foreign expatriates to prospect and mine the region.
The Witwatersrand Basin is a composite foreland basin that developed initially on the cratonward side of an Andean arc, similar to those presently behind the Andes.
2.7 billion years ago 2 large formations of Earth’s crust known as cratons, collided together.
The crust formations involved were the Kaapvaal and the Zimbabwe cratons whom after colliding with each other, caused further subsidence and deposition in the Witwatersrand Basin. It’s filled with clastic sedimentary rocks that age predominantly between 2.6-2.8 billion years old.
The size of the Witwatersrand Basin approximates from 350 km long by 200 km wide. The name ‘Witwatersand’ itself if translated from its Afrikaans name (a West Germanic language of Dutch, French and German origin) would mean ‘White Waters Ridge’.
Not just Gold!
In 2005 a survey was undertaken with reports of up to 250,000 tonnes of Uranium metal being situated also in the Witwatersand Basin.