Sishen iron ore mine is a mine near the town Kathu in the Northern Cape province in South Africa. The iron ore mine opened in the 1950s. Kathu the town beside developed in parallel to the mine. In fact, Sishen iron ore mine is one of the biggest iron ore mines in the world. That’s why Kathu called also as Africa’s iron ore capital.
The iron ore mined in Sishen has a unique behavior. Correctly, the mineral called Magnetite. This iron ore is ferrimagnetic. So far, most iron ore mined in the world is nonmagnetic. However, the red-brown mineral gives the landscape around Kathu the typical rusty color. When the mineral crushed it has a graphite shiny surface.
Iron ore is Kathu’s mineral treasure, the camel thorn tree forest is the ecological treasure.
Sometimes on a windy day, a big red cloud of dust moves over the town. Then Kathu covered by a red veil. Moreover, many houses built with bricks made in the same rusty red-brown colour. After that, only the green of the vegetation shimmers as contrast out of the red iron ore dust
The iron ore loaded by huge excavators on heavy dump trucks. The wheels of the trucks have a diameter of around four meters. The trucks easily carry more than 200 tonnes of iron ore. The mineral proceeds further with heavy equipment. This equipment placed around the mine. All of this heavy stuff is already visible from far.
Finally, the iron ore loaded on trains and send to the Atlantic coast for shipping worldwide. The electrified connection between Kathu and the west coast is known as the Sishen–Saldanha railway line. On this line, kilometers long trains carry the minerals to South African’s Atlantik coast. These trains considered one of the longest trains in the world.