Early Copper Mining At Thakadu, Botswana
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1995
Sixteenth to seventeenth century Kalanga miners dug a series of sub-vertical shafts into a 10 to 30 m wide zone of copper ore at the Thakadu Mine near Matsitama, Botswana. They went down at least 6 m in search of thick malachite veins. The host rock was hand 'cobbed' to remove the veins, which were then smelted nearby in small bowl furnaces. Evidently, the furnaces lacked clay superstructures, since a simple pit was sufficient to smelt the almost pure malachite. The copper bloom was probably refined in villages further away.