When Capt. J.C. Heyneke first arrived in Sabie IN 1930, there were something like 15 different mines operating. Glynn’s Lydenburg Mine Ltd. was the biggest gold mine at that time in Sabie.
Other names were :
Eastern Star G.M. co Ltd.
Malieveld Ming co. Ltd.
Rietfontein Tvl. Cons. Land & Exploration Co. Ltd.
Buchanan G.M.Synd. Ltd.
Bulgaric G.M. Co. Ltd.
“B” Sabie Syndicate Ltd.
Hill Syndicate Ltd.
Tvl. Gold Mining Estate Ltd.
Easting Sabie Gold Mine.
Was worked up until 1954, when it was closed because the workers did not get paid. The mine entrance was blown closed with all the equipment left inside.
Before that there were Swann’s Mine and the Jock Rosa Mine.
There was an alluvial source, as well as the reef which sometimes produced nuggets. It was worked up until 1986. There is apparently still gold available. While it was being worked it was yielding up to 28gms. to the ton of ore mined. Nuggets were also found. 200 tons of ore were initially extracted to start the cyanide process, but the ore was not crushed fine enough, and no significant results were obtained . All the equipment is still standing on site.
THE JACK-POT MINE.
This mine closed in 1975 when an Indian man was caught dealing illegally. It was alluvial gold only. All the equipment, consisting of everything necessary including 3 James tables, is standing ready to go when the switch is turned.
THE BULGARIC MINE
While exploring old addits, some of the plant foundations and an old map were discovered. It seemed to be a washing type set-up. The reason was that mining operations were conducted in gravelly type soil, which meant that the addits could not be supported by props. The entrance to the working-face was half-way up the mountain. This gravelly circumstance contributed to the mine’s eventual demise. During the middle 1950′s the mine manager was holding a corporate social & Christmas party one night, which luckily all the staff were obliged to attend. There was a really heavy Sabie storm that night with torrential rain, which caused a land-slide that buried the hillside entrance. As a result the whole mine virtually disappeared, with most of the workings. Luckily all the staff were attending the party, and there was no-one in the mine at that time. The mine was abandoned because of this disaster, and has almost disappeared.
OLIFANT’S GERAAMTE GOLD MINE.
This mine had only one addit, and no escape route. Some of the bed-rock in the addit was smooth, as if polished. It almost seemed as if the people extracting the ore were small, and could possibly have been Bushmen, using leather bags to collect ore for processing. This mine has one of the most beautiful white quartzite reefs with a thin layer of gold, visible to the naked eye.
As the gold being sought in the early stages of the “gold rush” was mostly alluvial gold, it was imperative to have a reliable source of water to be able to wash the gold out of the dirt and ore. In the early days every digger had his own water race, made simply by digging a furrow fro the edge of the stream. But when the digger population grew these furrows became co-operarive efforts, and each digger took his turn in the use of water.
The furrows are there to this day as a memorial to these pioneers. Many of them are extremely skilled efforts, carefully contoured and sometimes cut through solid rock on the hillsides. Some of them led water great distances to where the deposits were situated. An adequate flow of water was an essential, because without water the diggers could not operate.
The most famous of these furrows is Swann’s race. It was built but never actualy completed. It was built by an old digger named Swann, who found gold in an inaccessible spot in the hills. He was determined that no one should ever know where his mine was. He could apparently work it within the bounds of his resources and used to appear from time to time to buy supplies with his gold. However to make his fortune he needed water, and he set to work to to carve a furrow which it has been estimated was 20 miles long. He reckoned it would take him 8 years to complete, which would help him to make him richer beyond all the dreams of avarice.
He dug and dug and eventually died. They traced the course of the furrow, but never found Swann’s mine.
THE JOCK ROSA MINE
According to one of the old miners that used to pan and mine in the region, Swann’s Race is actually on the Sabie River just below the lower turn-off to the Frankfort forest station. It leads to what he calls the Jock Rosa mine. There certainly is a furrow or ditch about 2m. wide by 1m. deep running along the side of the Sabie River, and then leading off to the right to where he says the Jock Rosa mine is supposed to be.
The Race is undisturbed in any way, and is at least 100 years old. He maintains that the gold is still there, is alluvial, consists of fine gold and small nuggets, and assays out at between anything from 7gms. to 114gms. per ton of gravel. He invites any geologist to check his figures out. He maintains that nuggets consisting of 99% free gold and can still be taken out of the gravel all over the big bend in the Sabie River.