Vaal Reefs

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Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs is located in North West (South African province)
Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs is located in South Africa
Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs is located in Africa
Vaal Reefs
Vaal Reefs
 Vaal Reefs shown within North West
Coordinates: 26°55′44″S 26°44′10″E / 26.929°S 26.736°E / -26.929; 26.736Coordinates: 26°55′44″S 26°44′10″E / 26.929°S 26.736°E / -26.929; 26.736
Country South Africa
Province North West
District Dr Kenneth Kaunda
Municipality City of Matlosana
 • Total 6.15 km2 (2.37 sq mi)
Population (2001)[1]
 • Total 11,345
 • Density 1,800/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2001)[1]
 • Black African 94.8%
 • Coloured 0.2%
 • White 5.0%
First languages (2001)[1]
 • Xhosa 34.7%
 • Sotho 26.1%
 • Tswana 14.3%
 • Tsonga 6.0%
 • Other 18.9%

Vaal Reefs is a town in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the North West province of South Africa.

The town is home to a large gold mining operation owned by AngloGold Ashanti, a company that was originally incorporated in 1944 under the name of Vaal Reefs Exploration and Mining Company Limited.[2]

Vaal Reefs Tragedy[edit]

A mining accident on 10 May 1995 resulted in the death of 104 miners when a locomotive fell into a lift shaft at the edge of 56 level (1,676 m below surface), landing on the cage and causing it to plunge 1,500 feet (460 m) to the bottom of the shaft (2,300 m below surface).[3][4] It was history's worst ever elevator disaster.[5]

This tragedy brought two key changes to the mining industry. Firstly, the immediate implementation of the new Health & Safety Act – specifically the five basic rights – and secondly, for the first time ever, the stakeholders took care of the dependants after the death of breadwinners.

The 104 victims of the disaster left 431 dependants (all entirely dependent before on the deceased), now the beneficiaries of the Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust. The dependants of the deceased are scattered across South Africa and neighbouring countries. The majority of widows and children live in Lesotho (219), followed by South Africa (114), Mozambique (54), Botswana (31) and Swaziland (13).[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Vaal Reefs". Census 2001. 
  2. ^ "Group information" (PDF). AngloGold Ashanti Limited. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "104 miners are crushed to death when an elevator carrying gold miners plunges to the bottom of a Vaal Reef mineshaft near Orkney". South African History Online. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Locomotive crushes 105 gold miners". The Independent. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Vaal Reefs Tragedy Commemorated
  6. ^ About Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust