On my way back from Markman earlier this morning whilst doing a time lapse and driving slowly in the yellow lane I noticed small dark rocks all along the side of the freeway.
And then a huge manganese ore truck carrying two hoppers blasted past scattering small rocks in it’s wake and the penny dropped – our roads are being ground into submission with the fallout from these behemoths delivering manganese ore to the Port of Port Elizabeth from depots in Swartkops and Markman.
At present the Port and mines are making money hand over the fist with the high price of Manganese necessitating 24 hour loading operations.
The Port is still trucking lower grade manganese into the Manganese Ore Dump close to Kings Beach but the trucks are responsible for bringing higher grade ore into the Port that is loaded via a hopper system on one side of the ‘citrus quayside’ and via containers on the other side of the quay.
I set myself up on the sea side just past Smelly Creek and opposite the North End Cemetry to count the number of trucks destined for the Port of Port Elizabeth carrying Manganese Ore.
In the four metres behind my Bakkie and between the yellow line and road shoulder I picked up a substantial number of manganese ore rocks – one imagines that if a crew had to travel along the ‘PE Manganese Route’ it could be possible to fill at least a small hopper with what has been lost off of the trucks.
And the results of my highly unscientific counting exercise from 11h41 to 12h39:
- 55 Manganese carrying ore trucks went past me
- 18 of those carried two hoppers each
- 9 of those were containers
- 28 of those were single hoppers
That means one every 1.09 minutes – quite an impressive operation.
These trucks use two entrances to the Port; Green Street and Strand Street and, I am told, run 24 hours a day.
Some food for thought:
- Who pays for the clean up of our roads?
- Who pays for the accelerated maintenance to our roads?
- Are the Markman and Swartkops manganese ore depots environmentally safe?
Do yourself a dubious favour and drive along the freeway towards Markman and you will see a dark line along the roads demarcating the path these these behemoths take as they race back and forth.
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