For What It’s Worth - Copper
For What It's Worth
Copper
Whether they are active or long dormant, mines speak of a combination of sacrifice and gain. Their features are crude, unsightly scars on the landscape – unlikely feats of hard labour and specialised engineering, constructed to extract value from the earth but also exacting a price.

These images combine photography and computer generated elements in an effort to visualise the output of a mine. The CGI objects represent a scale model of the materials removed from each mine, a solid mass occupying a scene showing the ground from which it was extracted. By doing so, the intention is to create a kind of visualisation of the merits and shortfalls of mining in South Africa, an industry that has shaped the history and economy of the country so radically.

This is the first in a broader series of images, dealing with the extraction of precious metals and stones, possibly coal as well. For now, however, the project begins with the first mining operations in South Africa, removing copper from the arid Namaqualand region.

The country’s first ever commercial mine, the Blue Mine in Springbok, began operating in 1852. More mines opened soon after as copper deposits were discovered in the surrounding areas. This, in turn, boosted the development of small towns in a relatively remote area of the country, as workers settled nearby. By 2007, however, most of these mines had run their course and production had stopped almost completely. This presents an uncertain future for the towns and people of the region.

Blue Mine, Springbok
1852 to 1912
3,535 tonnes of copper extracted
West O’okiep Mine, Okiep
1862 to the early 1970s
284,000 tonnes of copper extracted
 
Nababeep South Mine, Nababeep
1882 to 2000
302,791.65 tonnes of copper extracted
 
Tweefontein Mine, Concordia
1887 to 1904
38,747.7 tonnes of copper extracted
 
Jubilee Mine, Concordia
1971 to 1973
6,500 tonnes of copper extracted
 
Copperton Mine, Copperton
1972 to 1994
462,560 tonnes of copper, 934,560 tonnes of zinc, and 944 tonnes of silver extracted
Palabora Mine, Phalaborwa
open pit: 1966 to 2003
4.1 million tonnes of copper extracted
For What It’s Worth - Copper
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23708
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Published:

For What It’s Worth - Copper

These images combine photography and computer generated elements in an effort to visualise the output of a mine. The CGI objects represent a scal Read More
1765
23708
91
Published:

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