Kanana / Orkney Mining history
By Seun Motsumi
Kanana / Orkney mining began in the early 1960’s. at the beginning, there were only three mining shafts, namely number 1, 2 and 3. During those years many people were not familiar with mining and how it operates. As a result many people lacked interest of working at the mines as laborers. Besides, they thought that one needed skills, experience as well as qualifications to obtain a job as a mine laborer. That was not the case everywhere, even though we all know that people are supposed to have an idea about the jobs they are looking for. As years passed by, more and more people shown interest of working at the mines, particularly men, and this was an obvious sign that more shafts had to be opened.
Around the Kanana / Orkney area, the only mining company then was known as Vaal Reefs Exploration & Mining Company. This company went on and opened five more shafts, as demand for more gold increased and the rate of people looking for employment also increased. Many of these laborers were from Kanana, Vaal reefs, Khuma and Jouberton. Before the establishment of these four residential areas, people were collectively residing in Makweteng, that was during apartheid regime.
The beginning of the 21st century saw various mining companies coming into existence, namely: Anglo gold Ashanti, African Rainbow Minerals, Harmony, Phamudzi and Aurora. Vaal Reefs Exploration was taken over by Anglo Gold Ashanti. A few years later, three more new shafts were opened bringing to the total of Kanana / Orkney mining shafts to eleven. The fore-mentioned mining companies were all operating among the eleven shafts, unfortunately some encountered financial difficulties and others liquidated, like Aurora for instance. Of all these mining companies which are still surviving Anglo Gold Ashanti is known and considered to be a mining giant within the Orkney / Kanana area