The Mining Tech in the Mponeng Gold Mine

The Mponeng gold mine in South Africa is considered to be the deepest and most productive gold mine in the world. Miners descend between 2,800 and 3,400 meters to mine two reefs of gold ore. For context, the height of the Empire State building is only 443 meters. Being that deep underground creates a unique working environment, to say the least. Here is some of the mining technology and safety equipment used in Mponeng’s daily operations that you’re not likely to see anywhere else.

The Elevator – Even if miners live right next to Mponeng, they still have a long commute. It takes more than an hour to go from the surface to the bottom of the mine. The transport for the first leg of the journey is a massive three-story elevator with a 120 person capacity. An operator controls the decent in another building on the surface. Gradually, the elevator reaches speeds of up to around 46 feet per second – nearly half a mile per minute.

The Cooling System – Because of the geothermal gradient, the temperature of the mine increases the deeper one goes. In the deepest parts of Mponeng, the rock face is 140°F. In order to make the working condition more bearable, a plant on the surface pumps about 6,000 tons of salt and ice slush into underground reservoirs. Gigantic fans move air over the coolant and deeper into the mine, bringing the ambient temperature down to about 85°F.

The Safety Measures – Mponeng’s ultra-deep mining operations destabilize the surrounding rock, creating hundreds of seismic events each month. In a worst case scenario, the seismic activity can cause deadly cave-ins, rock bursts, and ground collapse. To reduce risk to the miners, tunnels are sprayed with steel fiber reinforced shotcrete (concrete sprayed from a high pressure hose) and covered with diamond-mesh netting. Seismic monitoring stations throughout the mine catch any activity, giving miners time to move away from a dangerous area.

Reviews for our Precious Metal Prices App

At MGS, our longtime clients and frequent web visitors know about the tools and resources we offer to help simplify the precious metals selling experience. Among those, our latest and greatest is the Precious Metal Prices app available for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android.

Version 1.2.1 of the app is available now, and it’s better than ever. You can use the app to check the real-time price of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium while on the go. Additionally, you can perform any kind of weight conversions with the built-in calculator. Plus, you’ll always know the best time to buy or sell by using the price alerts feature. Just select a high and low price threshold for your desired precious metals and receive an alert as soon as that metal hits either valuation in the market.

There aren’t many reviews yet, but so far the praise is positive. User Yohanceb writes, “This is the only app in the entire app store and on the web that consistently gives notifications by email when metal prices arrive at prices I want. Five stars. Awesome. Thank you guys for adding this much needed feature.”

We want to hear what YOU think about our apps. Download it from the iTunes store or the Google Play store then write a review or give it a star rating. We value the feedback from our users and customers, so we hope to hear from everyone who has the app. Thank you!

Smirnoff Releases Gold Flake Vodka

Just in time for the upcoming holiday celebrations, Smirnoff has released a cool new take on edible gold, Smirnoff Gold – a cinnamon flavored vodka with flakes of edible 23k gold.

Swanky, gold-sprinkled liquor isn’t a new idea. Diageo, Smirnoff’s parent company, is the former owner of Goldschläger – a cinnamon flavored schnapps (that we’ve written about before). But the cinnamon flavoring and gold flakes are where the similarities between the two liquors end. Firstly, one is a vodka and the other is a schnapps. Secondly, Smirnoff Gold uses “unique technology” to keep the gold flakes perpetually suspended in the liquor – which gives it a great presentation whether it’s just sitting on a shelf, or in a cocktail glass. Goldschläger on the other hand, needs to be stirred to kick up the gold flakes. Diageo also claims that the cinnamon flavoring of Gold is “lighter on the palate than that of Goldschlager.”

Drinking Smirnoff Gold as a shot seems to miss the point of having a liquor with so much eye appeal. Plus, the “unique technology” that keeps the gold flakes suspended give the vodka a viscous quality. We haven’t tried it, but viscous vodka shots sound a lot like hand sanitizer, which can’t be appetizing. What would be a good mixer? Smirnoff recommends its “Apple Bite” pre-mix – a blend of vodka, lemonade, and apple juice. That’s sounds like a drinkable apple pie, which beats hand sanitizer any day.

Smirnoff Gold retails for around $40 or so. Assuming it uses the same amount of gold flakes as Goldschläger, there’s maybe $3-4 worth of gold in it. Unless you really like vodka, it’s not the best investment vehicle. If you really want to invest in gold, try our competitively priced bullion bars! And please, enjoy all your gold flake liquor responsibly.