southern africa during the iron age8. pre-colonial mining in southern africa by a. hammel, c. white, s. pfeiffer, and d. miller synopsis this paper summarizes indigenous mining methods used to collect metal ores in pre-colonial southern africa, south of 15s. these methods, for the purposes of discussion, are divided into sections in,brief history of gold mining in south africa mining,brief history of gold mining in south africa. including major events. 1873. first large-scale production began when alluvial deposits were discovered at pilgrims rest. 1884. gold was discovered in the witwatersrand which led to an influx of miners from around the world. 1886 -.