Two travertine deposits are known in the Port St Johns area of the Wild Coast, Isinuka, 10 km west of Port St. Johns and the Crater Deposit situated on a cliff overlooking the Mzinvubu River, 25 km
upstream of Port St. Johns.
Of the two deposits, only the Crater deposit is worth considering, as Isinuka yields generally poor-quality travertine and is in an indigenous forest with the adjacent springs being incorporated into a
Efforts have been made in the past to remove blocks of high-grade travertine for dimension stone purposes from the Crater deposit. However, the difficult terrain, being impassable during the rainy season, posed problems in getting the material to markets and proved the undoing of past ventures.
The quality of deposit has already semi-quantitatively been established at some 6 million m3 of pale travertine marble that ranges from reasonable to excellent.
Freshwater limestone variety deposited around springs.
Reserve delineation at the Crater deposit by the Council for Geoscience to locate and map the different types and grade of travertine. Financial and technical feasibility studies for a community-based business plan to quarry and beneficiate the travertine on site to overcome the past transport problems. The material should be sorted into high, medium and low quality, for sculpting, smaller tiles, ashtrays and other ornaments and beads, respectively. Quarrying should be low technology and labour-intensive to accommodate the abundant labour existing with a significant presence of ex-mine workers.
The Crater travertine deposit should be considered as a small mining project in terms of the exploitation of blocks of Ornamental and Decorative grade travertine by petrol driven jackhammer drilling and wedging. The project would employ local people not only in the extraction, cutting and polishing of the stone, but also artists to work the material and add value to it, creating distinctive curios. This enterprise would complement any other attempts to lift the standard of living of the locals by stimulating tourism to this, the most beautiful part of our coastline.
Preliminary Costing for geological mapping, trenching, bulk sampling and testing:
|Geologist detailed mapping, report writing and map compilation:||R 42 000|
| Accommodation and subsistence:
||R 2 200|
|Transportation 2000 km @ R2.61/km:||R 5 220|
|Subsistence allowance:||R 1 500|
|Sundries:||R 3 000|
|Total:||R 53 920|
Du Toit, M.C. and Reddering, J.S.V., 2002. Report on the Crater Travertine Deposit, Port St Johns Node EC 154, Project 0664. CGS Int. Rep. 2002-0139.
Ehlers, D.L., 1981. Report on the exploration programme on the Isinuka travertine deposit. Port St Johns, Transkei. STK Int. Rep. 1981-0111, 36pp.
Gain, SB., 1973. A report on the diamond drilling results, Port St Johns travertine deposit. South African Development Trust Corporation report, STK 64A, 7 pp., unpublished.
Kupferburger, W., 1935. The travertine deposits near Port St Johns; Bulletin, Geological Survey of South Africa, 4. 15pp.
Schutte, D., 1981. Port St Johns Travertine Deposit (Crater Deposit), a report on the diamond drilling results. STK Int. Rep. 1981-0112.